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Khalwat raids: When proof of marriage becomes essential

Jais officer says most of the time, husbands are unable to provide sufficient evidence because the couple gets married overseas.


KUALA LUMPUR: A Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) officer has spoken up in defence of the religious authorities accused of arresting a married couple for khalwat (close proximity) last month despite them having a marriage certificate.

At a forum on Islamic family law, Hairul Nizan Mhd Idris, who works for Jais’ Hulu Langat division, said that most of the time arrests are made if the husband is unable to provide sufficient evidence that the woman he is with is his wife.

“Most of the time, husbands are unable to provide evidence because the couple marry in Thailand or in Indonesia.

“Only providing documents that the marriage took place outside the country is not enough. They must provide supporting documents showing the marriage is recognised in Malaysia.”

Hairul explained the process for any particular raid to be carried out. He pointed out that a raid would only take place if there was a complaint.

“If there is no complaint, then we don’t come. If there is a complaint, then as religious authorities we have to act.

“When we come to the hotel and see that the person’s car is parked outside and we know without a doubt that the couple is inside the hotel room, we will knock on the door and say Assalamualaikum (the standard Muslim greeting) three times.”

He said only when there is no answer, although they know there are people inside, do the religious officers get the keys to the room from the reception and come in.

“If the husband answers and says ‘I am with my wife and I don’t allow you to enter’ then, naturally, we will ask for proof that the woman is indeed his wife.

“If he can provide proof, then that’s that. If he can’t, that’s when we take action.”

In the case involving the married couple, the husband’s lawyers said even though the husband, Mohd Ridhuan Giman, had informed the religious officers that his wife was not decently dressed, a male officer barged into the room and even took pictures of her.

Hairul, however, said this was an unlikely story.

“I want to point out here that we knock and say Assalamualaikum three times. That should be more than enough time for a woman to cover her aurat (intimate parts).”

He said it was often easy to get misled by news reports, especially since most news had been sensationalised to appeal to readers.

“When the religious authorities do something wrong, then it is quickly spread without further verification because that’s the kind of news that people want to read.”

Free Malaysia Today