SERI ISKANDAR - The directive not to sell couple seats cinema tickets to unmarried couples is meant for Muslims only, state Non-Islamic Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said.
Dr Mah said the directive issued to the Lotus Five Star (LFS) Cinema at the D'Mall did not apply to non-Muslims.
The Perak Tengah district council issued the notice two years ago as the cinema was located in a predominantly Muslim community.
Its president Mad Dan Hassan said the notice was meant for Muslim patrons and the matter was decided during a full board meeting almost two years ago, and the notice was issued to the cinema on Sept 26, 2013.
"So far, we have not received any complaints from the public nor the cinema, and we have also not issued any summonses to the cinema if it had violated the notice," he told reporters in Ipoh yesterday.
He was commenting on the issue reported in several newspapers and social media sites recently.
Seri Iskandar is mainly an education hub, where Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) are located.
The three other LFS cinemas in Ipoh, Kampar and Parit Buntar do not display such notices.
Asked if the council would take action should unmarried Muslim couples insist on buying the couple seats, Mad Dan said the council had not received any complaints and would not withdraw the notice.
Dr Mah said now was the best time for both parties to discuss refining and reviewing the notice.
Dr Mah said he would defend the rights of non-Muslims, and in this case it was clear that the notice applied to Muslims only.
"Respect is key for the religion and culture of others, and I am totally against the idea of revoking the cinema's licence.
"The cinema is just following instructions from the local council," he said, adding that this was the first time he encountered news reports on such a notice.
A spokesman from LFS said she did not understand why the issue was being blown out of proportion when the notice had been there for the past two years.
She said there were no complaints from Muslims patrons when told that the couple seats were only meant for married couples.
Law student Muhammad Irfan Shahril, 20, who was asked about the directive, felt it was a violation of freedom.
"I think there should not be such a regulation for unmarried Muslim couples.
"Indecent acts should not be carried out in public places, and we as Muslims must be well-mannered at all times.
"A cinema is a place where people go to enjoy a good movie, and not to carry out indecent acts," added the student from Bangi.
Another student Fatin Liyana Mokhtar, 19, felt it was a good move to have such a notice in place, because as Muslims it would discourage people from carrying out indecent acts.
Fatin said so far she had not heard of any indecent acts at the cinema.
"I sometimes do go and watch movies as well, but have not seen unmarried Muslim couples occupying such seats," she added.