KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Only Muslims who have committed vice have reservations against the Selangor religious authorities’ new smartphone application, the state’s Islamic Department (Jais) director Datuk Haris Kasim said.
He told news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) that the app, also known as “Hotline Jais” would help curb vice activities before they happened, adding that prevention was better than treating crimes after they took place.
If he or she had done no wrong, what is there to be afraid of?
“What is there to be afraid of if you are not involved in khalwat,” Haris was quoted saying, referring to the Muslim offence of close proximity with someone of the opposite gender.
“What is there to be worried about with this application?” he asked.
According to the news report, Haris was responding to criticism that the app would encourage Muslims to spy on each other, an action frown upon in Islam.
DAP MP Zairil Khir Johari was among those who said the application is against the Quran, citing verse 12 of the Surah al-Hujurat that he said prohibits “spying” to look for one’s wrongs and gossiping.
The Penang lawmaker also pointed to Perlis’ guidelines on khalwat arrests, in which a complainant will be rejected if the complaint is based on tajassus (spying on one’s sins).
Haris told FMT that Selangor’s religious officers have their own guidelines in addressing complaints lodged through the application and stressed that it will not promote spying.
“We have an SOP on handling complaints. Like the fire and rescue department, when a complainant lodges a report, it must complete and accurate.
“Currently, there are a lot of fake information, hence, through this application we can vet them all,” he was quoted as saying.
“Hotline Jais” aims to enable members of the public to send the authorities photographs of suspected Shariah offences being committed.
However, it has raised concern among human rights lawyers, who said it could encourage vigilantism.
The authorities frequently conduct khalwat raids against Muslims suspected of being in close proximity with someone of the opposite sex who’s not their spouse, even raiding some homes.