Last week, a man vacationing in the picturesque Perhentian Islands was arrested by the Terengganu Religious Affair Department (JHEAT), after a raid on his beach-side chalet revealed that he was a sharing a bed with two other women.
When questioned by JHEAT, the 20-year-old man told them that he had moved into the chalet next door, where his two female companions were sleeping, because he was afraid of the large cicak (lizard) that were present.
The trio were busted at 3:30am Friday morning after authorities went to investigate the circumstances that they were vacationing under. The three checked into two chalets at the resort, but at some point that evening, the man had moved into the room with the two other women, one of whom is married. And no, not to the guy who is afraid of lizards.
Thirty JHEAT officials were deployed to the resort, where another couple was arrested, when a 40-year-old man was discovered to be sleeping in a room with his 20-year-old girlfriend. When questioned by officials, the man claimed that he fell asleep in his paramour’s room after going to pick something up.
Sharia law bans unmarried men and unmarried women from sharing any “secluded place, house or room under circumstances that may give rise to the suspicion that they are engaged in an immoral act.”
Broadly referred to as khalwat, each state has their own religious affairs department dedicated to enforcing the state’s law.
Teregganu is one of the more conservative states in Malaysia, and made headlines last year after two women were caned publicly for “attempted lesbian sex.” Authorities also canceled a music festival, having earlier told event organizers they had to separate groups of unmarried men and women, and halt “excessive mixing” of the sexes.
All individuals involved were booked under Shariah Criminal offences.