Anti-khalwat team annoys hotel guests in Terengganu

(NST) – SETIU, TERENGGANU: Guests at the Penarik Inn here were flabbergasted by the actions of a group of men said to be from the state Religious Affairs Department (JHEAT) who conducted a raid yesterday morning.

Guests claimed they were rudely awakened at 2.25am by loud, incessant banging on their chalet doors.

Haniffah Mariati Mohamed, 55, said the men even threatened to break the door open when she told them to wait for her to put on her headgear (tudung).

“They went away after the door was opened and I told them I was staying at the chalet alone,” she said, adding that they never showed any authority cards or warrants to conduct the raid despite claiming they were from JHEAT.

Haniffah was outraged when she saw one of the men peeping through a window about 20 minutes later.

“I screamed at the top of my lungs. It was very rude of them to peep into my room like that.”

Chalet operator Mohd Baharudin Mohd Said, 63, said this was not the first such incident.

“They would normally come after midnight and question my guests without even informing me about their intentions.

“I have a register of all my guests and I would give them full cooperation if they had approached me first,” he said, adding that he only came to know about the raid when some guests complained.

He said during the raid yesterday, a couple was taken away by the group and were only sent back at 6am after they proved that they were legally married.

“It was a harrowing experience for them. They checked out immediately and I don’t know if they will ever stay at my chalet again.”

Baharudin lodged a police report about the incident at the Penarik police station at 9am yesterday.

“I hope the authorities will look into this as it could hurt the state’s reputation as a tourist destination.”