PETALING JAYA: MCA has advised the PAS-led Kelantan government to focus on “real social ills” such as drug addiction and unemployment instead of gender segregation in cinemas.
The party’s religious harmony bureau deputy chairman Datuk Ng Chok Sin (pic) shot down suggestions that PAS is being progressive when it recently announced the possibility of reopening cinemas in the state under strict conditions.
He said the conditions, which include gender segregation and restricted screening during night time prayers, are based on sweeping statements that “cinemas cause social ills”.
“Similar to the Taliban or even Islamic State regimes, PAS wants to exercise full control of the daily lives of the population whilst skipping other real issues affecting the state.
“PAS enforces sweeping prohibitions without any form of empirical evidence or statistics. It is easy to say that cinemas cause social ills without any proof at all,” he said in a statement Monday.
Ng called on PAS to tackle youth unemployment in Kelantan and also the drug scourge, with state police recently reporting that an average of 60 drug addicts are caught every day, of which 90% are youths.
He questioned if gender segregation in cinemas will also be applied to non-Muslims, adding that the ruling will also break up Muslims who wish to enjoy the movie as a family.
“Will the ‘sit apart’ requirement be forced upon non-Muslims too? If yes, then it shows that PAS’ religious-based state regulations affect the rights of non-Muslims to be together.
“However, if non-Muslims are allowed to sit together and non-Muslims compelled to sit apart, this situation polarises society as it could possibly pit Muslim grievances against non-Muslims.
“Not only are couples and families divided, PAS’ regulations will split Muslims and non-Muslims apart too, which is unhealthy and unwise in Malaysia’s multiracial society,” he added.
Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah had said on Sunday that prospective cinema operators need to abide by guidelines imposed by the Kota Baru Municipal Council should the proposal be adopted.