Non-Muslims should be allowed to be indecent, says minister

(The Star) – Foreign tourists to Malaysia are worried over the recent action taken against non-Muslims for alleged indecent behaviour in Kelantan.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said tourists, especially those from China and Taiwan, had voiced their concern to the ministry over the matter.

“Such policy of issuing summonses on ‘khalwat‘ should not be implemented on non-Muslims.”

“Furthermore, what did they do wrong as they were together at the plane spotting area near Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, which is an open public area,” Dr Ng said after taking part in the Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia (CC1M) Sunday bike ride event here yesterday.

Dr Ng said as a Kelantanese, she used to gather with friends and families at the spotting area near the airport in Pengkalan Chepa previously and there was no action taken on them for doing so.

She said the place was not a closed or covered area and it was by the roadside, where everybody could see what was going on at the spot.

Two men on a plane-spotting outing near the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport and a teenage couple in Tengku Anis Park were issued with summonses in October and last month respectively.

Dr Ng said the cases proved that the Islamic rules imposed by PAS were now affecting non-Muslims.

Earlier, on the Sunday Ride in Raub programme, Dr Ng said cycling activities should be self-sustainable by individuals or organisations by now.

She said the programmes had successfully achieved their targets of fostering relationship, economic activities generating, attracting tourists as well as promoting green and clean tourism.

Dr Ng said more states, including Sarawak and Sabah, had adapted the programme as selling points in the tourism industry and was seeing good economic returns.

She said other state tourism operators, too, had to play an active role in promoting the cycling programme further as it had the potential to be successful.