KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — The three Malay girls shown embracing K-pop stars in a video are being unfairly targeted and punished by religious authorities, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today, amid claims that they were molested by Korean artists on stage during a mini-concert last weekend.

The Opposition leader accused the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) of practicing double standards in their on-going probe against the girls, pointing out that religious authorities have failed to take action against high-profile figures and local celebrities who have openly displayed disrespectful behaviour.

“I urge that JAWI and other religious authorities not enforce any form of action. Do not take action against young people hugging, but not take action against figures and artists who are involved in the same social problem,” Anwar wrote on his official blog today.

“Threats will only bring about anxiety and confusion for them (youths)..advise them, talk to them,” the PKR defacto leader added.

The three Malay girls shown embracing K-pop stars in a video will not be prosecuted for public indecency if they are underage, but will instead be sent for rehabilitation, a JAWI official said yesterday.

The official said, however, that the girls have yet to present themselves as directed, so he could not yet say how JAWI will proceed with the case.

“The case will be investigated and brought to the Shariah Court to have the punishments decided but if the girls are underage, then we will arrange for them to undergo rehabilitation instead, here at JAWI,” he said when contacted by Malay Mail Online yesterday.

Earlier this week, JAWI said it is investigating the girls for public indecency and outraging Muslims.

The Islamic authority said it will investigate the matter under Section 29 of Shariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.

Section 29 of the Act allows for a fine of up to RM1,000 and imprisonment of no more than six months upon conviction.

The controversy erupted after a video of the meet-the-fans session here for K-pop band B14A on Saturday was uploaded online, prompting thousands of angry Facebook users to share and comment on a three-minute viral video of the artists hugging and embracing the Malay girls on stage.

The clip, which was posted on the Sukan Star TV Facebook page, was suggestively titled “Perempuan melayu dicabul atas pentas oleh mat kpop semalam” (Malay girls molested on stage by K-Pop artists last night).