Outrage over anti-vice move

19 Jan 2017 / 13:20 H.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers and non-governmental organisations are outraged with a move by Terengganu Religious Affairs Department (JHEAT) that it may extend its anti-vice enforcement to passengers in vehicles, such as cars.
Lawyers for Liberty representative Latheefa Koya said there is no offence under syariah law for two unmarried people to be together in a room.
Also, in Malaysia the term "khalwat" (close proximity) has been misunderstood and connected to the act of adultery that requires four witnesses.
"The word 'khalwat' has been misinterpreted from its Arabic origin, which means 'to be alone to contemplate' as our Prophet Muhammad had done.
"Also, in Selangor, the meaning of 'khalwat' is not confined to two persons being alone but there must be proof that they are 'dalam keadaan mencurigakan' (in a suspicious manner).
"The onus then lies on the enforcement officer to define the 'suspicious' manner. The officers cannot just barge into someone's home (without evidence to support).
"I think they (JHEAT) have missed the point on their view on anti-vice operations. It's embarrassing to knock into someone's home or to pull a couple over.
"It is an un-Islamic move," she added.
The Malaysian Muslim People's Coalition president Amir Amsaa Alla Pitchay, meanwhile, said the Terengganu authorities should review before implementing "a drastic move".
"Islam is a peaceful religion, and even those without tudung (scarves) may have a stronger religious will than those wearing it. They should consider all possibilities, including the current Ops Bonceng which does not allow an unmarried couple to ride a bike together," he added.
They were responding to a Malay Mail Online article titled "Now, Terengganu Islamic enforcers say may nab unmarried couples in cars too".


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