Foreign couple arrested for khalwat

A foreign Muslim couple suspected of committing khalwat was detained by the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAIJ)’s enforcement unit during a four-hour operation at a hotel in Jalan Wong Ah Fook on the eve of Valentine’s Day.

The suspects claimed to be married but when the 25-year-old female suspect was asked her husband’s name, she apparently tapped her head and could not answer. Upon further questioning, she admitted she had just got acquainted with the male suspect. Both were detained for further investigation.

Another Muslim couple was also detained in the same hotel when they failed to prove that they were legally married, though it might be unreasonable to expect couples to carry their marriage certificates around.

The deputy director of the JAIJ enforcement unit, Khalil Satar, said both the couples will be charged under Section 27(1) of the Johor Syariah Offences Enactment 1997 and if convicted face a fine of RM3,000 or a two-year jail sentence or both.

Similar operations were conducted at entertainment spots and low-budget hotels in and around the city, Johor Jaya and Mount Austin yielding negative results. Khalil advised Muslim couples not to get carried away with celebrations prohibited by Islam.