Jaim chief reiterates advice that even non-Muslims should "dress decently" in public

Kelly Koh

MALACCA: Islamic religious officers have the right to take action against Muslims, including foreign tourists, who are deemed to be “indecently dressed” in public areas, State Islamic Religious Department (Jaim) enforcement chief Rahimin Bani said today.

He was responding to complaints made by members of the public – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – against religious officers who have been policing how people, even non-Malaysians, dress.

"Enforcement officers can take action against Muslims, even if they are foreigners who come here as tourists.

"But please don't get me wrong. Action will not be taken against (indecently-dressed non-Muslims), because the enactment is only applicable to Muslims," he said when contacted by the New Straits Times here, today.

Rahimin was also asked to respond to a statement he made recently, which drew the ire of non-Muslims, when he urged both Muslims and non-Muslims to dress decently in public areas.

Rahimin reportedly said that action could be taken against Muslims who do not cover their 'aurat’ under Section 71 of the Shariah Offences Enactment (Malacca) 1991.

In the interview with Bernama, Rahimin also urged non-Muslims to dress modestly to avoid “causing public annoyance”, as there are several laws at hand to tackle such issues.

He said it includes Section 268 of the Penal Code for causing public nuisance.

Rahimin added that while no action could be taken against non-Muslims, he advised them to “dress decently” according to their own morals and religion.

"It is important to respect Malaysia, as a country consisting of a multicultural society.

"You don't wear revealing clothes in public. For example, even wearing hot pants and showing your navel in shopping malls will not be a polite thing to (do) in public.

"I am saying this because I have received complaints (on scantily-dressed people) from members of the public – not just from Muslims, but also non-Muslims,” he said.