Threatened with rape, G25's Noor Farida now under sedition probe for khalwat criticism

G25 representative Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin is now under sedition probe after her recent call to review Islamic laws governing khalwat. ― File pic
G25 representative Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin is now under sedition probe after her recent call to review Islamic laws governing khalwat. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 ― A sedition investigation on G25 representative Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin is underway following her recent call to review Islamic laws governing khalwat, a police official has confirmed.

“Yes we're investigating under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act,” Malacca police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye told Malay Mail Online yesterday.

He added that five police reports have so far been lodged against Noor Farida, one in Malacca and four from other states. Malay Mail Online understands that the Malacca police will be handling the sedition investigation although police reports have been lodged in other states too.

However, the police appear to be tardy in response to threats of bodily harm against the former  judge and spokesman for the moderate Muslim pressure group comprising retired senior civil servants.

Noor Farida, a former Sessions Court judge, told Malay Mail Online that she lodged a police report at the Jalan Tun Razak police station here last Monday against Animal Action Group president Sharul Nizam Ab Rahim, who had threatened on Facebook last week to break into her home and rape her over her criticism of laws prohibiting khalwat (close proximity among unmarried couples).

She said her statement was recorded at the Pudu police station the same day.

“In the police report, I stated that an offence had been committed under Section 503 read together with Section 506 of the Penal Code,” Noor Farida said when contacted.

Section 503 deals with criminal intimidation, punishable under Section 506 of the Penal Code with a maximum jail term of two years or a fine, or both.

The punishment increases for death threats or grievous hurt, destruction of property or imputes a woman’s chastity, resulting in jail time up to seven year, a fine, or both.

Penang Wanita DAP members have since filed a police complaint against Shahrul Nizam's rape threat.

A number of civil society groups as well as the women’s wing of MCA have voiced support for Noor Farida and also condemned the man’s rape threat.

Northeast district police chief ACP Mior Faridalathrash Wahid from George Town, however, did not respond to Malay Mail Online’s questions on progress of the investigation on the matter.

Mior later told Malay Mail Online today that the police were investigating the rape threat against Noor Farida under Section 506 of the Penal Code that deals with criminal intimidation.

Despite the police report Noor Farida lodged in the capital city here, Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Zainuddin Ahmad referred Malay Mail Online to the Penang police when asked about the rape threat investigation.

“Two contingent(s) investigate her case on different issue(s),” Zainuddin said, referring to the sedition and rape threat cases.

Some conservative Malay-Muslims such as Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria and groups like Perkasa and Isma have accused G25 of having “very weak” religious knowledge and even warned the group may be declared deviants if they continued perpetuating such views.

At a recent forum titled “Islam in a Constitutional Democracy”, G25 had said it was setting up a consultative committee to review and to recommend for repeal or amendment unconstitutional state Shariah enactments and laws that violate personal privacy, such as khalwat laws.

Noor Farida, as group spokesman, had said G25 was against criminalising “personal sins” and that intruding a person's privacy was not Islamic.

Another G25 member, Tawfik Ismail, is reportedly under a sedition investigation over his reported remarks calling for the abolition of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).