PETALING JAYA: Police must immediately investigate the man in a video, telling patrons at a cafe in Flora Damansara to dress “appropriately” in respect of the majority Muslim community living in their area, a lawyer said today.
SN Nair said that if the video clip, which has gone viral on social media, was authentic, the man had likely committed an alleged criminal offence under the chapter relating to religion in the Penal Code.
“The police need not wait for a complaint from the public, but a policeman can instead lodge a report to begin investigations,” he told FMT.
Nair said this in response to the one-and-a-half minute video where the individual, wearing a black skull cap and dressed in a long black jubah, or Arabic male gown, claimed to represent the community of Flora Damansara in Petaling Jaya.
“Firstly, we object to any drug abuse in this community,” he was heard saying.
“Secondly, we object to any alcohol consumption in public in Flora Damansara. Why? It is because this place is populated by a majority Muslim population. So it is very disrespectful.
“There are also highly suspicious activities, such as prostitution.
“Also, I urge all of you not to wear any ‘bare’ (revealing) clothes,” the man said in the video clip. As he spoke in English, it is believed that he was addressing a group of foreigners.
The man, who is seen holding a piece of paper listing the prohibitions, also gave the patrons a week to comply with the notice, and asked them to share the information with their friends.
Nair, a former police officer, said the man was allegedly imposing his values on others and may have breached Section 298(A) of the Penal Code by “causing disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing, etc, the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion”.
“The police have a duty to protect public peace and order,” he said, adding that if no action was taken it would embolden others to conduct similar acts, which may then possibly result in retaliation by others.
Nair said such conduct “must be nipped in the bud”, and stressed that Malaysia was a secular nation with a sizeable multi-racial and multi-religious population.
Meanwhile, Malay Mail Online reported earlier that the man in the video has since denied the accusation that he was trying to incite racial or religious tension among Malaysians.
Mohamed Farith Mohamed Jamal, 37, told the news portal he was merely addressing “African residents” in Flora Damansara, with the intention of making them aware of what he claimed were the cultural sensitivities of the Malay community.
“It’s not that we are against drinking or whatever activities that they want to do. But we want to request that they please do it behind closed doors or at the proper premises. In fact, we invited them to listen to our briefing.
“In the video, we spoke only to the Africans in the restaurant who were not drinking at that time. We were not accusing them, we just wanted them to help deliver the message to their community,” Farith was quoted as saying by MMO.