A NON-MUSLIM Kelantanese woman was recently issued a compound notice by the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) for wearing indecent clothing.
The 35-year-old woman who runs a clothing business was issued with the compound during a check by the council’s enforcement officers.
According to MPKB president Rosnazli Amin, the officers went to the outlet, located at Jalan Merbau about 11am.
“The non-Muslim owner was found to have been wearing shorts at public places and for that, she was slapped with the compound,” he was quoted as saying by New Straits Times when contacted.
According to Rosnazli, the woman was found to have committed an offence under 34(2) (b) Business and Industrial Trade By-Laws 2019 which states that non-Muslim business owners and their non-Muslim employees must wear “decent clothes”.
Rosnazli said that by-laws have long been in force and are understood by all, including non-Muslims.
The woman was given seven days from the date the notice was issued to settle the compound or face legal action.
Interestingly, MPKB has defended its decision to fine the woman, whose Facebook post on the matter had prompted netizens to complain that the authorities were imposing religious law on non-Muslims.
According to Sin Chew Daily, Rosnazli said the clothes that the woman wore in the photograph where she was seen posing with the fine were not what she wore when she was visited by enforcement personnel.
Rosnazli then shared a photograph of the enforcement personnel visiting the woman’s clothing boutique, where the latter was clad in an oversized pink t-shirt that covered her shorts.
“The photo that we saw on Facebook depicted her wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. It was different to what she was wearing (when the fine was handed to her),” he was quoted as saying.
Offering her two cents’ worth on the matter, lawyer and human rights activist Siti Kasim, who also shared a photo of the compound on her Twitter account, stressed that people should not trust claims that Shariah-based norms do not apply to non-Muslims.
“Believe at your own peril,” she tweeted.
For the record, this is not the first time someone has been penalised for wearing shorts in the PAS-led state.
In September 2017, a man in Kelantan was compelled to attend counselling after an officer from the Kelantan Islamic Religious Department (JAIK) caught him wearing shorts in public when he was buying food from a burger stall while on his way to play futsal.
Wan Khairul Hayyee Wali, 30, was told that he had violated the Syariah Criminal Enactment by exposing his knees and so exhibiting his aurat (areas of modesty that must be covered for Muslim men, beginning from the navel down to the knees).
More recently on March 17 this year, a group of seven men in Kelantan were shocked when they were given warnings for wearing thigh-length shorts when the restaurant was raided by the Kelantan Religious Affairs Department (JHEAIK) officers.
The men were told to attend counselling sessions at the Tanah Merah religious office two days later. – June 26, 2023