KOTA BARU: The state government’s implementation of a dress code and advertisement guidelines is to curb the spread of immorality among the people, said PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.
“Yes, we have asked Muslim women to cover up, while non-Muslims should dress decently. When there is no display of provocative behaviour, there is also no bad example for others and the young to ape,” he said when asked about the latest controversy arising from the Kota Baru Municipal Council’s order for some shops to remove print advertisements that contain pictures of “uncovered” women, some of whom were in provocative poses.
“I only want Muslim women to cover up. What job they want to do is up to them,” said the Kelantan Mentri Besar, who added that people were free to dress as they wished in the privacy of their homes.
“But the moment we step out of our door, we have entered public space. As such, there are certain behaviours which are appropriate, and some which are not,” he said after attending a gathering to celebrate the PMR achievements of students in state-funded religious schools.
Two years ago, Nik Aziz said he never implied that women were a source of immorality.
“Sexual immorality is only partially caused by some women who intentionally reveal their aurat in order to arouse sexual desire in men,” he said back then when a similar controversy broke out over the municipal council's dress code which required working Muslim women to wear tudung.
Nik Aziz also said the state government would do its best to ensure the survival of religious schools even though the Federal Government has stopped its support for them.
He reiterated that Kelantan was constructing a religious school emphasising on science.
“The school will be built on a 30ha tract of land belonging to the Kelantan Islamic Foundation (KIF) in Kok Lanas,” he said.
There are 88 religious schools in Kelantan that receive funding from the state through the KIF, a non-statutory body.
Of the lot, 18 get full funding from the state, including SMU Maahad Muhammadi Lelaki and SMU Maahad Muhammadi Perempuan.
Meanwhile, his deputy Datuk Paduka Ab Halim Ab Rahman said Kelantan expected the Federal Government to withdraw the 152 Education Ministry teachers seconded to KIF-administered schools.
“At present, their salary is worth some RM4.6mil (annually). If the withdrawal takes place, we will hire our own teachers, and find ways to raise their salaries,” said Halim, who added that Article 12(2) of the Federal Constitution allows different communities to establish and maintain institutions unique to them.
“KIF-administered schools were established based on a state enactment which was in turn based on provisions under the Federal Constitution. Thus, the attempt to abolish these schools are unconstitutional, and we will challenge them.”
Halim said he would meet the Education Minister to persuade him that KIF-administered schools were not the same as the sekolah agama rakyat (SAR) that the Federal Government wanted to shut down.
Before the SAR controversy, the Federal Government used to give RM2.5mil annually for religious schools in Kelantan.
Such schools would follow the syllabus set by the Education Ministry, but with additional courses in Arabic and Islam.
Last year, KIF spent RM32mil for its schools, and has budgeted RM42mil for this year’s operations.
Did you find this article insightful?