Kelantan segregates men and women in annual fun run

This article is more than 12 months old

KOTA BARU The fun run had been held without any issue for the past two years.

But for the first time, the Kota Baru Municipal Council issued a directive to the organiser to segregate men and women during this year's event.

Buddhist organisation Soka Gak­kai Malaysia's Kelantan branch said the council made the "gender segregation" request before the application was approved a month ago.

Branch chairman Chew Moi Luan said they put up signage in compliance with the request during the flag-off at SM Zainab 1.

Mr Chew was quoted in Sin Chew Daily as saying it was the first time the council had made such a request.

However, most of the 1,400 participants ignored the directive.

Soka Gakkai has been organising the 7km Run for Peace event nationwide since 2015.

Ms Noor Farida Ariffin from the G25 group of eminent Malays said the directive reflected the increasing conservatism of authorities in Kelantan.

"Non-Muslims should protest the encroachment of their rights by the council," she said.

Ms Noor Farida said that what the council has done was not an isolated incident but the latest in a string of directives which has affected non-Muslims.

It was reported that several businessmen were fined last year for putting up advertisement posters deemed indecent by the council.

The posters had models who did not cover their heads (aurat).

"Things are getting from bad to worse, and what the council has done is all about exercising their petty power," Ms Noor Farida added.

Kelantan MCA chief Hou Kok Chung said the council should consider racial harmony before making such a decision.

"This is a sensitive issue so we must use wisdom to protect the feelings of all races," Dr Hou said, adding that the council should instead focus more on improving the economy. - THE STAR