KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 —
It was the nightmare before Christmas for
Muslim Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who claimed to
have been rudely woken up at 3.20am
yesterday by a group of Islamic religious
officers on an “inspection” of a hotel in
Parit Buntar, Perak.
The chief executive of think tank Institute
for Democracy and Economic Affairs accused
the district Islamic religious office of
allegedly violating his privacy in the early
morning check of the room he shared with his
mother, by a group of six to seven male
“I think it’s really unfair, this kind of
moral policing,” he told Malay
Mail Online when
According to Wan Saiful, he was woken up
upon hearing a “loud knock” on his room door
in the wee hours of the morning, which he
described as “quite intimidating” for
someone out of town, and was met by a man
who flashed a card identifying him as an
officer from the Islamic religious before
insisting on entering his room.
Wan Saiful said he had tried to reason with
the men as his mother was sleeping in the
room, recounting his explanations: “My
mother is elderly, she’s asleep, she’s
tired, she’s had a long journey yesterday”.
“But they insisted on coming in because it’s
pemeriksaan,” he said, using the Malay word
He added that the men entered his hotel room
and left, after looking it over.
Wan Saiful stressed that the purported
officers had “no warrant”, saying: “All they
had was a card which can be made in any shop
on the streets.”
“There was really no way of finding out
(their identity), they were standing there,
with the body language of ‘I’m coming in
whether you like it or not’,” he said.
He admitted to being initially worried for
his safety and his mother’s safety, saying
that the men who were all wearing jackets
that appear to be a uniform, however,
managed to convince him that they were from
the religious authority.
His concerns were then turned to avoiding a
scene and disturbing other hotel guests, as
well as waking up his mother, saying he did
not dare to deny the men entry into his
“I don’t want to create a scene, I don’t
want to create trouble, I don’t want to be
accused of preventing them from doing their
job,” he said, fearing that he would be
accused or prosecuted for not cooperating.
“You can’t just come barging in. It’s not
Islamic as well. She usually wears a tudung
(Islamic headgear) and they know she was
asleep,” he said, saying that his mother was
not wearing any headgear during the raid.
Wan Saiful said he believed the religious
enforcers were from the local religious
authority, with a check with hotel staff
this morning revealing that the group of men
had visited three rooms with the room number
ending with “8”, including his room — “308”.
When asked if he would be lodging a police
report over the religious raid without a
warrant, Wan Saiful said that he did not
intend to turn this into a big issue, but
merely wanted other Malaysians to be aware
of their rights to privacy.
“I don’t think I would turn this thing into
too big of an issue. My real concern is the
public is aware that there may be some
wrongdoing happening there and just because
people come from religious department
doesn’t put them on the right side all the
time,” he said.
“The authorities should only invade your
privacy if at least they have a warrant that
allows them to do so,” he added.
For now, Wan Saiful intends to write to the
religious authority to voice his
dissatisfaction with its officers’ conduct,
saying that they “owe” him an explanation
for picking his room for the raid.
“I don’t intend to let this off easily,”
said Wan Saiful, who was in Parit Buntar the
previous evening for a speaking engagement.
“I wonder if the authorities have visited
five-star hotels where VIPs hang out and if
they would treat the hotels the same way,”
Wan Saiful said such raids have been
happening in the country and risk leaving a
bad impression on foreigners visiting
“It paints a very negative picture of
Malaysia. Just imagine if it was a foreign
tourist and not me, just imagine what kind
of country they will see us (as),” he said,
having experienced such a raid for the first
time in his life.
The management of Melor Inn Hotel was unable
to confirm the incident when contacted by Malay
Mail Online at
the time of writing due to a change in the
Malay Mail Online was
also unable to reach the Islamic Religious
Office of Parit Buntar as today is a
national public holiday.
Source: The Malay Mail, Thursday 25 December