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Muslim sensitivities

At the same time, Umno Youth and others angry at KK Mart don't mind that pork stew is our heritage food.

Zaid Ibrahim
2 minute read

The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) has given a stern warning to KK Mart. 

Where does Jakim get this authority from? 

If you are in charge of Islamic affairs, you have full authority to reprimand or issue notices and warnings to anyone on almost anything. 

This is due to the pervasive and wholesome requirement that businesses must comply with “Muslim sensitivities” in whatever shape or form.

It does not matter that before you start a supermarket or other business, you already have to comply with one hundred rules and regulations from other government departments. 

Uppermost in your mind, you are to take care of Muslim sensitivities, an essential criterion which everyone who lives in this country must comply.

Today, the sensitive item is some stockings with the word "Allah" inscribed. It is also a sensitive item to sell beer in convenience stores. In fact, in places like Putrajaya or Cyberjaya, you can’t sell alcoholic beverages.

Massage parlours do not affect Muslim sensitivities so much. The proliferation of massage parlours somehow does not upset Muslims as much as beer. No one has yet called for certain massage parlours to be closed in Klang or Johor Bharu, which has a sizeable Muslim population. 

The large groups of Muslim tourists descending every week in Hatyai and Medan appear to be immune to the presence of beer houses or massage parlours in these places. Perhaps their sensitivities are triggered closer to home.

What I find puzzling is the muted reaction of Umno Youth and everybody else from the same legion that pork stew is our heritage food. It appears that Muslim sensitivities are not affected by food at all. 

It’s therefore not easy to discern what items or products are on sale, which is "sensitive". 

Our leaders can speak freely that everyone must be "sensitive" to Muslim sensitivities. But there seems to be no uniformity on what offends their sensitivities 

I urge Jakim to draw up a list of things or product inscriptions, food items, clothing or drinks that may trigger outrage, as they are sensitive to Muslims. Cover the field of performing arts, concerts and even sports. Please update the list every month.

Zaid Ibrahim is the former law minister.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.