Controversial regulations in Kota Bharu that are said to infringe upon the rights of non-Muslims have created a common ground for two long-time rival political parties - DAP and Gerakan.

Both these Chinese-dominated parties want the PAS-led Kelatan government to repeal such by-laws that have been enacted by the local councils in the state.

NONEIn a statement issued today, DAP national vice-chairperson M Kula Segaran (right) said the summoning of four non-Muslims for "indecent behaviour" by the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) enforcement officers was not acceptable.

Kula said DAP protested against similar enforcement in Ipoh in 2003, when several couples were summoned by the Ipoh City Council for holding hands in public spaces.

Following DAP's disclosure of abuse of power and indiscretion on the part of the enforcement officers, he said, the Perak menteri besar directed the city council to cease enforcement of the by-law.

"It has to be remembered that MCA, Gerakan and MIC councillors failed to support the DAP when we questioned the by-law.

"They were in a position to help to kill the by-law, but they kept silent. In government, but no power!" Kula said.
Moral, civil rights of citizens must not be trespassed

The recent actions by enforcement officers in Kelantan, he elaborated, clearly showed that there was an urgent need for such by-laws to be repealed, or at least amended, to prevent misinterpretation and abuse of the power by overzealous officers, irrespective of whether such laws exist in states ruled by Pakatan Rakyat or BN.

"We must not allow the moral and civil rights of the citizens to be trespassed by overzealous officers," Kula added.

Gerakan deputy president Chang Ko Youn in his statement criticised the Kelantan government's decision to suspend the enforcement of the by-laws on non-Muslim hairdressers.

NONEThe suspension, Chang (left) said, amounted to a delaying tactic and camouflaged the actual intention of the Kelantan government to enforce such laws on non-Muslims.

"It was done mainly for political expediency in the advent of the coming 13th general election and acts merely as a temporary balm to public resentment.

"This is politically untenable and irresponsible and undermines the civil rights of Malaysians," said Chang, who is also Gerakan's human rights and law bureau chief.

He said the by-laws must be amended immediately to remove its power on non-Muslims and all fines collected must be refunded to the salons or hairdressers who have been unfairly punished.

"Again, we regret to note that DAP has done nothing in the past years on this issue. It helps to cover up the excesses of the by-laws in the name of political solidarity with its disparate partner in Pakatan.

"All political principles advocated by DAP in its early years have been thrown into the gutter."

After receiving brickbats from the MCA, Gerakan and even DAP, the Kelantan government yesterday announced the temporary suspension of the by-law barring hairdressers from serving customers of the opposite sex.

State executive councillor Takiyuddin Hassan said that the move would give the state government time to review the relevant by-laws.

However, Kelantan government is yet to review the summonses issued to four individuals for "indecent behavior".