KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry has obtained a stay of execution from High Court Justice Lau Bee Lan on her earlier ruling allowing the Herald to use the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia edition.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said he was grateful lawyers representing the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, as publisher of the Herald, agreed to the stay, which was granted in chambers.
The Herald editor, Father Lawrence Andrew, said the church agreed to the stay out of love for the nation.
"As Christians we are taught to love and not hate people. We have no ill-will and we sincerely hope it will simmer down the anger, protests and demonstrations against the Catholic Church," he said.
Abdul Gani urged the public not to assume something was wrong just because the matter was raised speedily in court.
"I requested for the stay of execution to be heard quickly. The faster the matter is settled, the better it will be for everyone in the country.
"We will try to have the matter heard as soon as possible in the Court of Appeal. I believe it can be very soon," he told reporters after emerging from the judge's chamber following a brief hearing yesterday.
The Herald's lawyer, Derek Fernandez, said the Attorney-General requested for the stay on grounds of national interest.
The Home Ministry had filed an appeal at the court on Monday.
Derek also raised concerns to the Attorney-General over the breach of the sub judice rule by many parties, and Abdul Gani had assured that he would uphold the law.
On whether the case should come under the jurisdiction of the civil court or Syariah court, Abdul Gani called on the public as well as reporters not to spread rumours.
On former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad's comment that the "Allah" issue should be resolved out of court, Abdul Gani said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a politician, I am just the Attorney-General, a small fry who is trying to resolve the problem."
During the hearing in chambers, lawyers representing the Islamic Religious Council for the Federal Territories, Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu, Johor, Malacca and the Malaysian Chinese Convert Association wanted to support the stay of execution as friends of the court (amicus curiae) but Justice Lau rejected the application because they were not parties to the application for stay of execution, said lawyer Abdul Rahim Sinwan.