Raids by officials of Sabah's Islamic Affairs Department on hotels in Kota Kinabalu leave several couples embarrassed.
KOTA KINABALU: An aide to a Sabah cabinet minister and his girlfriend were among those detained by Islamic authorities in the state for “khalwat” or close proximity.
The unfortunate couple were caught “red-handed” in a hotel room in Putatan near here during a vice operation conducted by the Sabah Islamic Affairs Department (MUIS).
They were among 10 people detained during the raids held in conjunction with the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday celebrations yesterday.
The 53-year-old who claimed to be a widower and his partner were nabbed by MUIS enforcement team in a budget hotel in Putatan at around 1am.
According to an enforcement officer, the man attempted to escape punishment by identifying himself as a special assistant to an Assistant Minister in Chief Minister Musa Aman’s administration.
The enforcement team ignored his pleas and arrested the couple who will be charged in the Syariah Court here.
According to MUIS enforcement officer, Mohd Noor Kasah, the couple admitted they were together at the hotel because the woman’s family did not approve of their relationship.
The couple have been in a relationship for about a year and were asleep inside their room in the budget hotel when they were detained.
“During the raid, our personnel knocked on the door a few times and waited for almost an hour before the man who was fully dressed finally open the door. The girl was on the bed,” said Mohd Noor.
Another detainee, a local in his 20s, failed to convince MUIS personnel and the police that he is a non-Muslim when he and his partner were caught inside another budget hotel room an hour later.
During the 2am operation, the enforcement officers and the police waited patiently for half an hour before the man finally opened his room door.
“When asked, the man claimed that he is a non-Muslim but when our personnel checked his identification, we found that he is a Muslim,” said Mohd Noor.
The four-hour operation also saw a 50-year-old woman and her 21-year-old partner and three other couples detained for the same offense around Putatan.
Mohd Noor said all the detainees would be investigated under Section 27 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act 1997.
“The operation is to prevent Muslim from being involved in any vice activity,” he said, adding that such operations would be carried out from time to time.
The crackdown in Sabah follows the detention in Selangor, where 80 people were nabbed by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) for committing close proximity at public parks in the state.