'Unmarried Muslim pillion riders not allowed to hug and lean against each other'

'Unmarried Muslim pillion riders not allowed to hug and lean against each other'
PHOTO: The Straits Times

KUALA TERENGGANU - Unmarried Muslim couples who ride on motorcycles together in the state have been told to "keep their hands" to themselves.

Among the acts that those riding pillion must never do include putting their hands in the jacket pocket of their partners.

They are also reminded not to hug and lean against each other while riding on motorcycles, or they will face stern action.

In issuing the stern warning, Terengganu Religious Affairs Department (JHEAT) Commissioner Datuk Wan Mohd Wan Ibrahim said such acts were against the teachings of Islam.

He said a team of enforcement officers would be conducting a special operation dubbed Ops Bonceng to catch Muslim couples acting indecently while riding motorcycles.

Wan Mohd said the department would go all out to stop unmarried Muslim couples from committing indecent act on motorcycles, including hugging, leaning against each other, or putting their hands in the jacket pockets of their partners.

"We have a team of enforcement officers who will be watching couples on motorcycles from a distance and recording them before informing another team of officers who are at the roadblocks with Road Transport Department officers," said Wan Mohd.

He added that the team would operate without cameras as only eyewitness testimony was sufficient as proof in court.

Wan Mohd said that unmarried Muslim couples who rode on motorcycles in a decent manner would not be affected by the ruling.

He, however, advised them against sitting too closely, saying that such act could lead to illicit intercourse and having children out of wedlock.

"We will advise unmarried Muslim couples to not ride pillion as it doesn't portray a good image. That is our job and we are doing this because prevention is better than cure," said Wan Mohd.

He added that action would also be taken against unmarried couples seated indecently in cars.

A Muslim person found to be acting indecently and inappropriately can be charged under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Ta'zir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001.

Wan Mohd also reminded Muslim women in Terengganu to dress appropriately, and not wear tight, body-hugging clothes and tight-fitting jeans which show parts of the body or the shape of their figure.

"We have given ample reminders, but we still find Muslim women disobeying the dress code," said Wan Mohd.

State Communications, Multimedia and Special Duties Committee chairman Ghazali Taib said what the department planned to do was right and within its jurisdiction.

"Such acts are against Islam and are an eyesore. Many have been given advice so that they can correct their mistake," he said.

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