IPOH: The Ipoh City Council has been ordered to stop booking the public for indecent behaviour in public parks pending further discussion on the matter.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali said enforcement against the public for indecent behaviour would be suspended until the views of non-governmental organisations and other interest groups were sought.
Since there is a public outcry over such rules, we can stop enforcing them. But now we have to decide whether to carry on with these laws or stop enforcing them completely.
We leave it to the people. This is our city and the people should decide, he said.
Tajol Rosli pointed out that there was no element of race or religion involved when action was taken against those who were caught for indecent behaviour.
These laws are not Islamic laws or regulations under the state Religious Department. So dont exploit the issue. They are in the city councils bylaws for parks which have been in existence since 1985, he told reporters after the weekly executive committee meeting here yesterday.
On May 28, The Star reported that college student Lai Kar Leong and his girlfriend were issued a summons each for indecent behaviour under the Ipoh Municipal Council Bylaw 1985 on parks when they were talking and holding hands at Ipoh Padang on April 13 at 10.30pm.
In his On The Beat column, The Star's executive editor Datuk Wong Chun Wai called on the city council to not act as the moral guardian of the people of Ipoh.
He added that it should pay more attention to the collection of rubbish at housing estates and traffic jams.
On Wong's comments, Tajol Rosli said: I went back to Grik recently and someone came forward and asked me pak toh pun sekarang tak bolehkah? (is courting a forbidden act now) and I could not answer the question.
We do not want the city council to be the 'moral guardian' of the people but everyone must be the moral guardian of the city, he added.
According to statistics, he said 60 people were compounded for indecent behaviour in 2000, 72 people in 2001 and 97 people were fined last year while 170 people were compounded during the first five months of the year
He pointed out that there was a public outcry when Sirajuddin enforced the law stringently as the new Datuk Bandar.
At a ceremony to release fish in the Gunong Lang Recreation Park to mark a fishing competition to be held on June 14, Sirajuddin said the college student and his partner were compounded RM100 on Apr 13 for hugging and kissing in the Ipoh Padang and not for holding hands.
In Petaling Jaya, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said he would try to establish whether the couple had committed indecent acts.
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