According to Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor, specific regulations must be imposed by the authorities to guarantee that comedy club owners and customers do not exceed moral and religious limits.
Simultaneously, the Penang Mufti stated that Islamic religious authorities including the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) must counsel the Muslim community to always retain the piety of the faith and not make a mockery of it.
“Islam, as the religious practice of human nature, does not forbid entertainment, including banter, as long as it is not excessive.
“There are occasions when we should be serious, and instances when we can loosen up,” he said when approached yesterday (July 14), as per Malay Mail.
He was responding to a video that went viral of a woman ridiculing Islam while performing at a comedy club in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
The 54-second short clip caused quite a stir on social media. It depicts a woman, known as Siti Nuramira Abdullah or Amy, claiming to have memorised 15 juzuk (chapters) of the Al-Quran before discarding her tudung and baju kurung onstage as part of her open mic routine.
Underneath the getup, she was clad in a spaghetti-strap dress, leading viewers to believe that her attempt at humour was in extremely poor taste and was in fact unlawful and disrespectful behaviour.
Shortly after the incident, police detained Amy, who was charged in the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur with provoking religious discord among Muslims.
Her boyfriend, Alexander Navin Vijayachandran, will also be charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for misusing network facilities after being remanded for three days from, July 11 to July 13.
Following that, the Penang mufti released another statement endorsing the closure of the comedy club, explaining that he had initially underestimated the seriousness of the matter.
“My previous comment appeared gentle against the comedy club because I assumed it was unintended. However, based on my understanding that a similar incident occurred repeatedly in the past, it is comprehensible that it is planned on purpose to offend Islam.
“I endorse DBKL’s tough stance against the comedy club because of the gravity of the offence committed, which threatens the nation’s solidarity,” he told reporters today.
The operation of the comedy club had been halted while authorities investigated the viral video. Later on, it was discovered that the comedy club only had a restaurant licence, and not an entertainment licence.
Yesterday, Rizal van Geyzel, a comedian and co-founder of the TTDI comedy club, was subsequently arrested in linkage with three videos of his own open mic routines that are said to be sensitive to racial and religious issues.
He was arrested around noon upon giving the police his statement at the Dang Wangi police precinct.
Another police official claimed that Bukit Aman’s D5 classified criminal investigation team is looking into the matter as several official reports had already been filed against Rizal, including one by Bersatu’s associate wing accusing him of disparaging Malays.
Those convicted of mocking or causing contempt against Islam can be punished with a fine to RM3,000 or incarcerated for up to two years, or both, under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997.