********Malaysia's highest court ruled today that two young people accused of kissing and hugging in a public park can be charged with indecent behaviour.
The Federal Court in the mainly Muslim nation made the ruling in a hard-fought case involving Ooi Kean Thong, 24, and Siow Ai Wei, 22.
The couple were allegedly caught embracing and kissing by city hall officials in August 2003 in a park at the city's iconic Twin Towers.
The students have said they received summonses for indecent behaviour when they refused to bribe two city hall officials, who have denied the claims.
Their lawyer S Selvam argued that hugging and kissing were expressions of love that should be encouraged, and that city hall had no right under Malaysia's constitution to charge the couple with indecency.
But federal court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said such behaviour was not the norm for Malaysians.
"So they should be given freedom to live as they like? The constitution allows all citizens to do that (hugging and kissing) even by the roadside, in public park?" he said.
"In England, those acts are acceptable to the people in that country, but is kissing and hugging acceptable to Malaysian citizens? Is the act according to the morality of the Asian people?"
Ooi and Siow will now face indecency charges at Kuala Lumpur city hall's court. If convicted, they could be fined up to RM2000 (US$543) or jailed for up to a year or both.
********The judge asked a couple of question to prepare us for his verdict: "Is kissing and hugging acceptable to Malaysian citizens? Is the act according to the morality of the Asian people?"
His verdict indicates in no uncertain terms that his own answers were a resounding 'NO' in both cases!
But as we know, we can ask such rhetorical questions to marshal, guide and direct listeners to our already decided answers.
I am disappointed by his decision and would like to ask a couple of such-like questions too: "Is kissing and hugging acceptable to today's non-Muslim Malaysian citizens, especially the Chinese? Is the act according to the morality of modern day Chinese, including Chinese Malaysians?"
Please answer them for me!