PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu Religious Affairs Department (Jheat) today said it had only given a warning to the 26 unmarried Muslim couples, who were caught for travelling together on their motorcycles, respectively, during a recent sting.
Jheat chief assistant commissioner (enforcement) Nik Zulhaiza Ismail said the men and women were also given counselling before they were released.
“They were told that if they were caught doing the same ‘offence’ again, they could be arrested,” Nik Zulhaiza said, adding that such couples would be detained with the help of the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and police, as Jheat did not have such powers itself.
“We are doing this to prevent social ills in Terengganu which stem from freely mingling with the opposite sex.”
Earlier this week, Sinar Harian reported that Jheat nabbed 26 unmarried Muslim couples for riding motorcycles together.
The couples, aged between 16 and 42 years old, were arrested under Ops Bonceng last week for an “immoral act in public”.
Nik Zulhaiza went on to reveal that the department will conduct more of such operations aside from organising talks to explain the initiative to the public.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Saiful Izham Ramli said while the law allowed for the religious department to rope in the JPJ and police for such operations, Jheat must specify the law to be used for the arrest.
“The religious department must realise that they can be challenged in court, unless there is a specific law. As far as I know, there is no such law.”