Malaysia: Islamic dept launches app allowing public to report Syariah offences
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Malaysia: Islamic dept launches app allowing public to report Syariah offences

RELIGIOUS authorities in the Malaysian state of Selangor has launched a mobile application that allows members of the public to report Syariah-related crimes, adding to concerns of growing Islamic fundamentalism in the Muslim-majority country.

Selangor’s Islamic Religious Department (Jais) director Haris Kasim told The Star that the app allows the public to become the eyes and ears of enforcers, making it easier for them to report offences that breach the Syariah code, such as pre-marital or extramarital sex, or alcohol consumption, which are forbidden to Muslims.

“The application, which was launched Tuesday, is simple and easy to use. Once installed on a smartphone, people can send over information and make reports to Jais very easily,” he was quoted as saying.

Named Hotline JAIS, the app has been made available for Android devices and users can download it at the Google Play store.

He said the app would serve as a deterrent to wrongdoers, making it harder for them to get away with violating the Syariah code.

Complainants, however, would have to provide substantial information before the department can act on their reports.

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“They will need to fill up a form which requires certain details. If the form is incomplete, we cannot go ahead with the inquiry,” he said, adding the complainants needed to include evidence of the alleged wrongdoing in their reports.

“Take for example they want to report on deviant teaching – they need to give us the location, the actual time and when it happened.”

He said the department would also accept photographic proof.

Although the app can be used to lodge complaints, Haris said there are also other functions, such as allowing users to access information on Islam and the Syariah law.

SEE ALSO: Malaysian government to monitor ‘deviant’ Muslim liberals

“Even if you have Syariah-related questions which we cannot answer or act on, the app provides a list of bodies and organisations one can approach to get the answer,”

“We just want to be more approachable. We are doing our best to reduce and eventually eradicate activities that are wrong, and by the launch of this app, we hope people who intend to do wrong will think twice.

“Once a complaint is submitted via the app, we can immediately deploy a team to the location,” he said told The Star.

The enforcement of the strict-Islamic Syariah code is a contentious issue in Malaysia. Conservatives here say they favour punishments prescribed in the code for Muslims engaged in deviant teachings, premarital or extramarital sex, and alcohol consumption, among other offences. However, human rights and civil society groups have argued that the moral policing does more harm than good in the multiracial country.

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