On Indecency Laws

A PAS leader has come out to clarify that, the recent bouts of fines on non-Muslims for various indecent acts were not under the jurisdiction of Syariah Law but are local by-laws that encompass all including non-Muslims. He is trying to clarify things as they are under attack by the MCA for trying to enforce Islamic Law on non-Muslims.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t serve to quell fires but rather serves to confuse the matter further. People need to understand that these indecency laws are not just found in PAS-run states but also in the Federal Territory. However, the justification of such laws is flawed as it raises the question of what is indecent under whose values.

Rule 3 of the Parks (Federal Territory) By-Laws actually makes it an offence to do a whole bunch of things in public parks including, climbing trees (R.3(g)), riding bikes (R.3(h)), tossing frisbees (R.3(l)), kite-flying (R.3(q)), and any acts may bring public discomfort or that may lead to sexual activity (R.3(w)) god forbid!

So you see, the by-laws don’t just exist in Kelantan but also exist right here in KL. In fact, if we were to climb trees or ride bikes in any park in KL, we’re actually committing an offence punishable by up to a year in jail or RM2,000 fine.

Sounds downright silly, does it not? Well, that’s the Law for you.

The trouble is, nobody has bothered to challenge these By-Laws. We must realise that By-Laws are the lowest form of life in our legal system. It can and should be challenged by the people. If someone gets a summon for flying a kite in a park, they should rightfully seek clarification at the High Court on whether kite-flying is unlawful.

Now, then the issue becomes whether or not holding hands, kissing, hugging, or piggy-back riding is unlawful either.

Personally, I feel that such morality Laws are just down-right wrong. If the purpose of which is to prevent public indecency, then the problem becomes, what is indecent and by whose judgement. While I can understand that things in Kelantan may be different from things in KL, but if you tried to fine every kissing couple in KL, you’d get into a whole load of trouble.

This is where PAS has some problems with it’s Islamic image. It is really difficult for the party to ride on a religious ticket while trying to maintain that it’s not trying to impose Islamic Laws on non-Muslims. It cannot be helped that the value system adopted by PAS would be based on Islam and that by enacting Laws that rely on those values, they are indirectly imposing Islamic values on non-Muslims, even if they are not explicitly Syariah Laws.

I would argue that this is an attack on my fundamental right to freedom of religion and also my right to life. One cannot argue that it is public indecency because while it is indecent to one group, may not be to another group. Sneaking such morality laws in through the back-door of local by-laws is cheating.

Personally, I would encourage everyone to kiss in public, more often. Let’s shower the world in Love, not hate.

If you attack my value system, I will attack back.


Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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