‘One-on-one session of teachers and students not a khalwat offence’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ONE-ON-ONE study sessions between teachers and students of the opposite sex will not fall under the offence of khalwat (close proximity).
Such study sessions would not be considered an offence as the act of khalwat would require a resulting suspicion that an immoral act is being conducted by the two parties, Head of Legal Counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Hjh Zuraini Hj Sharbawi said yesterday.
However, if teachers are in doubt then they are advised to conduct the tutoring session at an open area instead of an isolated one, in order to remove any cause of suspicion, she added.
Hjh Zuraini was responding to a question raised during a Syariah Penal Code for some 362 contract teachers under CfBT.
Under Section 196 of the Syariah Penal Code Order, any Muslim who commit khalwat is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $4,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both. The same penalty applies to any non-Muslim caught committing khalwat with a Muslim who is found guilty.
An act of khalwat is described as living together, cohabiting, in confinement or isolating oneself in close proximity that can lead to suspicion that they are committing an immoral act, between one man and one woman or more who is not his wife or mahram (an unmarriageable kin), or between one woman and one man or more who is not her husband or mahram.
Meanwhile, another question was raised concerning cosplay (short for costume play), and whether it would be considered an offence as there are instances where performers are required to don costumes to represent a specific character or idea, and at times this would mean wearing clothing of the opposite sex.
This performance art applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage.
Hjh Zuraini replied that it would not be considered an offence.
When The Brunei Times approached the panel for clarification, Hjh Zuraini stated that it is not considered an offence as cosplay is not listed in the Syariah Penal Code Order book entitled, “Supplement to Government Gazette: Part II”. She declined to give further comment.
Other panel speakers include the Head of Istinbat at the State Mufti’s Office Dr Hj Japar Hj Mat Dain; Senior Religious Officer and Head of the Family Advisory Department, Department of Syariah Affairs Ustaz Hj Saharuddin Hj Petra; and Hardiyatie Kahar from the Islamic Judicial Unit.
The briefing took place yesterday at the hall of the Sekolah Tinggi Perempuan Raja Isteri (STPRI). It was organised by the Primary and Secondary Education Section under the Department of Schools for CfBT and its contract teachers.
The Brunei Times