PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu government has defended its proposal to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the state’s only cinema, saying it’s a necessary move to prevent “illicit” activities between unmarried couples.
State Communications, Multimedia and Special Duties Committee chairman Ghazali Taib, who is also in charge of Islamic affairs, said unmarried couples wishing to watch a movie together could do so as long as they did not carry out activities that were against Islamic laws.
“The cinema is not meant to trouble the moviegoers. I’ve been to Aceh (in Indonesia); there’s a cinema there too. So long as the moviegoers do not go against the shariah laws, then there’s no problem.
“We in Terengganu will make Aceh an example,” he told FMT.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia where strict shariah law is enforced. Shariah law has been practised since 2014, and public caning is one of the most common form of punishments for shariah offenders.
LFS PB Sentral, operated by Lotus Five Star Cinemas, is Terengganu’s first state-of-the-art cinema as it comes equipped with Dolby Atmos surround-sound technology and has a total of 11 halls with a seating capacity of 1,631.
It began operating last Saturday and is the first cinema to open in Terengganu in 20 years.
The cinema, however, is quite unique as it has shariah-compliant features.
Ghazali said no decision had been made yet on the proposal to install the CCTV. It is still being discussed by the state authorities and the state government.
“This matter can’t be decided hastily because we have to look at it from all angles besides the religious aspect.
“We also have to look at the interests of the company as they would want to attract customers.”
According to Ghazali, the fact that there is no segregation of male and female moviegoers and the lights are not turned on while films are being screened, shows that Islam is not an extreme religion.
He denied that the move showed the people of Terengganu had questionable morals.
“The CCTV is just a preventative measure, to stop them from getting involved in illicit activities.
“Some teenagers if they sit in the dark, they become a little naughty. But if they see a CCTV there, then they won’t do anything inappropriate.
“It doesn’t mean we want to arrest and whip them. It’s just a preventative measure.”
Terengganu Exco member Mohd Jidin Shafee also supported the CCTV plan, saying it could protect the well-being and the interests of the public. -FMT