Petaling Jaya – Furious with the way the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had allegedly unlawfully hauled up four people over claims of being in close proximity (khalwat), a human rights lawyer has labelled the department as being nothing more than a “bunch of snoopers”.
Latheefa Koya said that Jais should instead focus on other issues which are damning to morality, rather than intruding into people’s privacy.
She was responding to a case today, where she is representing four Muslims who were allegedly hauled up by the department, already reeling from mounting criticism and controversy after seizing 321 Bibles early this year.
“What’s more fascinating is that Jais had immediately ascertained that these four were in close proximity, in only five minutes,” Latheefa added.
On June 22, the four, including a mother of two, were hauled up by Jais as they were cleaning up their rented home which they had just moved into.
The four — three women and a man, were visited by two Jais officers at midnight, who had then allegedly demanded for their identification cards.
After producing the documents, they were immediately rounded up for khalwat.
“My driver who was waiting outside the house, was merely helping us shift our things,” Hanisha Abdul Rahman, 29, told reporters.
“However, in Jais’ police report made after the arrest, four of us were said to have been caught in the house.” .
The single mother who works as a beautician in an outlet in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2), lives together with two housemates, who are also her colleagues.
The trio are ferried to and fro from work by the driver, 22-year-old Muhammad Mukamil Nordin.
“When we asked how long have they been monitoring our movements, they said it has been a while. However, when questioned by the police, they said they watched us for only five minutes.
“How is this a fair ground to ascertain we were in close proximity?” Hanisha said.
The four, after being brought to lodge a police report, were then told to head to the Jais’ headquarters. They were also told to bring RM3,000 as a penalty.
“We were ordered to then fill forms naming our guarantors. We were also instructed to head back to Jais on Dec 17 with RM12,000 even though we have not been charged yet. It was like we had been found guilty,” Hanisha added.
This then prompted the four to lodge a police report against Jais, demanding that they withdraw their charge and apologise.
They also demanded that the police act against the Jais officers who had shamed them.
“Jais and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) must revamp their procedures.
“The power bestowed upon them to apprehend people for khalwat seems to very broad, enabling them to blatantly abuse their powers,” Latheefa said.
“It is none of their business to knock on people’s doors and check what they are doing inside.
“Even in cases of adultery, the Islamic law demands there to be four witnesses who had seen the act. What more in khalwat? There must be greater grounds to ascertain it,” she added.
“You (Jais) are not supposed to go snooping… even if Mukamil was in the house, that is not proof enough that he is engaging in something suspicious.”
Latheefa said that Jais has seemingly been accustomed to doing things in the reverse.
“This is not the first time but this is the first that someone came forward to ask them (Jais) to stop.
“Why do this when you have much more serious stuff to do? This is not the way to curb maksiat.”
“They are abusing their powers in the name of acting as regulators of morality,” Latheefa said.
“Are you going to haul any three women who are seen with a man like in this case then?”
The outspoken lawyer said that if Jais fails to adhere to their demand, a suit will be filed against the body.