Something new from our Information Minister;
(Channel News Asia) KUALA LUMPUR : A Malaysian minister on Sunday joined growing criticism of vice raids by Islamic authorities on unmarried couples, saying shaming offenders was not a way of deterring them.
Under Islamic law, which operates alongside the civil code in mostly Muslim Malaysia, "khalwat" - close proximity between a man and a woman who are not married - is forbidden.
Surprise khalwat raids on unsuspecting couples are often conducted by Islamic authorities, sometimes accompanied by media.
But Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin said the shaming exercise was not necessarily effective.
"The way to correct offenders is not by putting them to shame. They have to be moulded and educated," Zainuddin was quoted as saying by the state Bernama news agency.
Debate has erupted over khalwat busts in the wake of a high-profile raid in October on an older, married, non-Muslim American couple holidaying on Malaysia's northern tourist island of Langkawi.
A senior cleric from northern Perlis state, Mohamed Asri Zainul Abidin, last week criticised the investigations, saying they violate Islamic principles of privacy.
Zainuddin called on religious officers to focus their efforts on other crimes and asked them not to take pleasure in arresting khalwat offenders.
"There are other pressing issues such as robberies, muggings, illegal racing and drug abuse committed by our youths, which need their urgent attention," he said. - AFP/de
tags : Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin khalwat raid shaming vice malaysia