Will the Kota Bharu Municipal Council’s (MPKB) obsession with “sexy” posters at retail outlets end there?
Will it be looking at product packaging as well to ensure that they are not as “sexy” as the posters of Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was a former Miss World?
In a move to ensure that business establishments don’t put up posters that don’t comply with its standards of what is permissible in our society, summons had been issued.
What if the council gets stringent with the images used in product packaging? How will traders determine if the products they display meet the requirements of MPKB in the capital of the PAS-led state of Kelantan?
In Indonesia, the packaging of a rice noodle snack and the slogan “remas aku” or “squeeze me” had the authorities upset. The rice noodles, called Bikini, have a drawing of bikini-clad torso on the packaging that is deemed too revealing for some.
The Bandung mayor says the product is immoral and Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency has launched an investigation into the snack which is only sold online.
The Indonesian Child Protection Commission has demanded the so-called bikini noodles be withdrawn from the market. The crackdown on the “noodle porn” perpetrators has gained as much worldwide attention as MPKB’s finding that the Aishwarya’s poster was too sexy for Kota Bharu.
How will the traders in Kota Bharu determine if the product packaging of their goods is suitable for display? Will MPKB alsot raid pharmacies, supermarkets and sundry shops to confiscate shampoo bottles, soaps, face care products if their packaging feature models without the tudung?
A 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 MPKB on July 26 for posters that feature a woman who was not wearing a tudung.
We shudder to think if the council conducts raids on bookshops and cart away publications which feature women who are not wearing a tudung.
Should this happen, international skincare and haircare brands would probably not bother with expanding their market in the PAS-led state. They probably have to design a different packaging to continue their business operations in the state if they wanted to.
What if they find it too much of hassle to sell their products in Kota Bharu? Will they move to other markets that are more conducive for business operations?
What then about securing foreign direct investment to the state? It would make more business sense to invest in neighbouring countries if they want to capture the Southeast Asia market.
Kelantan would lose out on attracting foreign direct investments which are crucial to its economic development.
While the Bikini rice noodle snacks may have a naughty element in their packaging, the posters of Aishwarya and a model without a tudung are good enough for public display. If we look beyond the posters, what we see is the packaging of PAS politics. The poster episodes offer us a glimpse into life under PAS should the party get its way with hudud laws.