BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
Malaysian Islamists demand modesty
Malaysian beach
Modestly-dressed visitors are welcome on Terengganu's beaches
By Frances Harrison in Terengganu

The new Islamic government in Malaysia's north-eastern state of Terengganu has said foreign tourists should be sensitive to the local culture or else steps will have to be taken to keep them in line.

Tourism is an important source of revenue for the state, and some in the industry fear moves to segregate the sexes and limit the sale of alcohol will scare away visitors who have come to Terengganu for beach holidays.

Even traditional cultural dance shows have been discouraged by the new Islamic government, which objects to what it calls "the free mixing of the sexes".

Alcohol sales to tourists may also become a problem because the government has only authorised eight outlets in the whole state to sell alcohol to both the local Chinese community and tourists.

According to the state government, foreigners come to Terengganu for the local scenery and natural beauty of its islands and beach resorts, not for alcohol.

But hotel managers say their guests regard drinking as part of the relaxation of a holiday.

Islamic policies

Terengganu is ruled by the Islamic Party, or Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas), which also controls neighbouring Kelantan.

The chief minister of Terengganu, Abdul Hadi Awang, said tourists must bear in mind the sensitivities of local people or else steps would have to be taken to control them.

Asked if his Islamic policies wouldn't put off tourists, the chief minister said Iran and Saudi Arabia were still popular tourist destinations despite their Islamic laws.

Local people who voted for Pas in large numbers say they do not like to see scantily-clad women.

Female tourists said they felt uncomfortable with people staring at them because they were wearing shorts or sleeveless tops, and one French couple said they were cutting short their trip to Terengganu as a result of the atmosphere.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Asia-Pacific Contents

Country profiles
See also:

26 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Battle for the Islamic vote
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories