Stay away from massage parlours, Sultan tells Selangor Islamic enforcers


(Malay Mail Online) – Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today instructed the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) not to raid massage parlours in the state, saying that such enforcement exceeded the agency’s limits.

Speaking to department officials at its Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations here, the ruler said the Islamic authority needed to be aware that its purview was limited to matters of religion.

“Jais must only act within its scope of duties involving Islamic matters only, without encroaching on the jurisdiction of local authorities such as the enforcement (of laws) on massage parlours, among others,” the Sultan said.

He said respecting its boundaries would help prevent the public from accusing Jais of overstepping its bounds, a common refrain against the agency following complaints it was disregarding laws and civil liberties in its enforcement action.

“This is important so that Jais will not be accused of acting beyond their jurisdiction and focusing only on the trivial while neglecting the bigger problems,” he said.

Jais has been accused of exceeding its authority in recent months, with the most recent incident being a raid on a Hindu wedding where it detained the bride over suspicions that she was Muslim.

The raid sparked nationwide uproar among rights groups and the country’s religious minorities who pointed out that Jais had no jurisdiction over non-Muslims.

But the agency defended its action and said the raid was done “by the book”.

In January, Jais also triggered an outcry when it raided the Bible Society of Malaysia to seize over 300 copies of Malay- and Iban-language bibles containing the word “Allah”, the Arabic word for God, claiming these were used to proselytise to Muslims.

Despite the Attorney-General clearing the Christian society of any wrongdoing, Jais has refused to return the confiscated bibles and even sought for these to be destroyed.

Such enforcement has led to criticism against the agency for attempting to enforce Islamic rules on non-Muslims.