Johor not a Taliban state, Sultan tells Muslim-only laundry

Pictures of the launderette in Muar displaying a sign that it only allowed Muslim customers at the premise has been widely shared on the social media since last week. — Picture via Facebook/Kelab Info Malaysia
Pictures of the launderette in Muar displaying a sign that it only allowed Muslim customers at the premise has been widely shared on the social media since last week. — Picture via Facebook/Kelab Info Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has ordered a Muslim-only laundry to stop the discriminatory practice, saying it was embarrassing and against his inclusive vision of a Bangsa Johor.

Sultan Ibrahim said such “nonsense” was unacceptable, and told the laundry operator that he must either comply or risk enforced closure, according to an interview published by The Star today.

“This is not a Taliban state and as the Head of Islam in Johor, I find this action to be totally unacceptable as this is extremist in nature,” he was quoted as saying.

“I want the owner to apologise to me and the people of Johor. He has made Johoreans very angry and embarrassed because this is not the Johor we want.

He was also reported as saying that he ordered state Islamic Religious Affairs committee chairman Abdul Mutalip Abd Rahim, the religious council and district council to investigate the matter.

Pictures of the launderette in Muar displaying a sign that it only allowed Muslim customers at the premise has been widely shared on the social media since last week.

After learning of this, Sultan Ibrahim said he was “deeply appalled” by the owner’s action.

The laundry changed this to “Muslim-friendly” following backlash, but the Johor Sultan saw through the ploy and said it was essentially the same thing.

Calling Johor a state that treats all races fairly, Sultan Ibrahim noted that even mosques were open to non-Muslims who are properly dressed.

“I wonder where this launderette owner washes his clothes when he is overseas? Is he saying only the clothes of Muslims are clean and those of non-Muslims are unclean? That’s what he means, I believe.

“From now on, I am directing the state executive council and all the councils to insist that any business owners who carry out such blatant discriminatory practices should have their licences revoked.

“Don’t mess around with your narrow-minded religious prejudices,” he was quoted as saying.

Sultan Ibrahim reportedly said that if he kept quiet about this incident, it could open up to more extremist practices such as “taxis for only Muslims or non-Muslims”.

In a separate report, the owner said he only initiated such a business practice because he wanted to show that he was a good Muslim.

“For Muslims, it is not just about clean clothes but cleanliness as a whole. I am just providing an avenue for Muslims to do that,” said the 40-year-old owner who declined to be named.

The owner said that he hoped non-Muslims would understand his point of view on the basis of his religion.

He pointed that non-Muslims could visit other nearby self-service launderettes, adding that one was just 300 metres away from his outlet.