"Un-Islamic practices" detected once again at Malacca's Pulau Besar

Kelly Koh

MALACCA: Un-Islamic activities, allegedly being carried out on Pulau Besar here, have once again caught the eye of authorities, and prompted Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron to schedule a visit there next Tuesday.

Idris said the issue of khurafat (un-Islamic) practices, which include idol-worship by several quarters, has raised concerns in the state, and has forced him to set up a special unit to be based permanently on the island.

"I realise that if we do not set up a special enforcement unit to be based on the island permanently, the practice will continue,” he told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting in Seri Negeri here, today.

He said without a permanent presence, khurafat practices would go on, despite enforcement officers periodically raiding the area, as the heretical groups would simply return to the island, as they have done in the past.

The Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB) is reportedly planning a firmer approach to preventing khurafat practices from taking place on the island.

Its mayor, Datuk Zainal Hussin, said the council will demolish illegal structures erected there by several quarters for un-Islamic worship, and operators facilitating the practices will be subject to fines.

Asked on whether the state government will consider gazetting the island, as suggested by state police chief Datuk Abd Jalil Hassan, Idris said they have gazetted a portion of the island.

"We will need to study and measure correctly which area of the island has been gazetted and which has not been gazetted. But we have existing baseline laws we can use to take action against those who flout the rules," he added.