Are posters featuring a woman not wearing a tudung unacceptable in Kota Bharu because they are indecent or vulgar? This seems to be the case with another business operator summoned over “sexy” posters.
The businesswoman, who sells skincare products at Aeon Mall, was said to have put up posters that did not adhere to the Islamic dress code. According to China Press online, she was issued a RM150 summon by the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) on July 26 for posters that feature a woman who was not wearing a tudung.
“The enforcement officers just came in and gave me the summon without any warning,” she said, adding that the posters were eventually removed.
A day earlier, a watch retailer at Aeon Mall was fined for displaying two “sexy” posters, supplied by the brand manufacturers. One poster featured Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai and another showed a female model, wearing a strapless dress, with a man.
MPKB president Zamri Ismail told Sin Chew Daily that outfits which did not abide by the Islamic dress code were deemed “indecent”. The council would not allow the display of posters with sexy models at public areas, he added.
According to the council’s terms of business permits, owners are not allowed to display sexy photographs at their shops.
This begs the question of what is sexy and obscene. Posters of a woman not wearing a tudung are surely not indecent. They don’t show cleavage and are definitely not vulgar or pornographic.
Even the more conservative among us would agree they are not, unless we just want to defend a wrong without logic. This is a case of misguided moral police pushing their boundaries or their political masters playing a dangerous game.
If it is a case of the moral police going overboard, the federal authorities need to step in and put an end to this absurdity. We don’t want to end up with moral policemen raiding business outlets for celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Nor do we want men armed with sticks whipping women in public for not dressing according to the standards they set. It is a slippery slope we are on. It is the government’s duty to ensure existing laws are observed and not allow arbitrary rules to be imposed.
MPKB is pursuing this matter with zeal and it is out to ensure compliance of its by-laws including non-display of “sexy posters”. The council is keeping true to its words by enforcing these by-laws on non-Muslim business entities.
If such moves were under the directive of the PAS-led state government, then it gives us a clearer picture of what to expect should hudud laws be implemented in the state.
The imposition of such standards is similar to coercing religious values on followers of different faiths. PAS cannot continue to claim that its religious values or hudud enactments would not affect non-Muslims.