Malaysian housewife to sue religious department over vice raid

Other News Materials 15 August 2008 09:06 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Anti-vice religious authorities in the northern Malaysian state of Perak have been issued a 14-day notice with the intention to sue by a housewife who said they stormed into her home in the middle of the night without reason, a newspaper reported Friday.

Zuraida Zainul Abdin, 28, told the New Straits Times she was breastfeeding her 3-month-old son before dawn July 25 when four men identifying themselves as officers from the state's Religious Department entered her home and began searching it while refusing to answer her questions.

Despite department Director Jamry Sury's admission of the officers' mistake two days later after Zuraida had filed a police report in Pusing, the housewife said she has yet to receive an apology from the enforcement officers involved.

"I want an apology and compensation for their intrusion into my privacy," she said.

"I am hoping my actions will ensure that they will never barge into people's home without investigation or proof, especially in the early hours," Zuraida said, adding that the incident nearly caused the breakup of her marriage.

The Religious Department in mainly Muslim Malaysia is empowered to enter the homes of Muslims suspected of having sexual relations outside marriage.

State religious departments have often come under fierce criticism for the overzealousness of their officers in staking out deserted parks and even apartments to nab suspected sexual offenders.

Zuraida said her attempts to receive an explanation from the department were futile.

Her attorney, Ranjit Singh Sandhu, said a 14-day notice to the state Religious Department was issued and a suit would be filed August 28 if it fails to respond.