The only cinema in Kuala Terengganu has implemented gender-segregated seating for moviegoers in conjunction with the reopening of cinemas nationwide on 1 July
On Saturday, 4 July, Lotus Five Star Cinemas (LFS) - located in Paya Bunga Square - took to Facebook to announce that they will separate each of their theatre halls into three zones for men, women, and family members respectively.
The implementation is on top of the existing one-seat gap arrangements, which many cinema operators are practising to ensure compliance of social distancing measures set by the Ministry of Health.
The initiative is made in accordance with the state's guidelines on entertainment, cultural performances, tourism, and sports activities to ensure moviegoers adhere to Syariah laws
The cinema's manager, Zulmajdi Razali, said they received the instruction from local authorities.
"The implementation of the new rules will be enforced by the Kuala Terengganu City Council (MBKT) to make sure activities are conducted in accordance with Syariah laws," Zulmajdi told Sinar Harian.
He said the management of LFS will be responsible for isolating non-mahram men and women (people not related by blood or marriage), and monitoring the cinema to prevent any suspicious activities from happening in the theatre halls.
"In small theatre halls, family members can choose to sit in any of the seats provided. While in big halls, we have allocated the middle part of the hall to families only," Zulmajdi said.
"Depending on the situation, some male and female moviegoers may be placed in the middle of the hall. But these people will need to maintain their boundaries."
The measure will be applied to non-Muslim moviegoers as well
To make the implementation possible, LFS will be suspending its online ticketing service. All tickets must be purchased in person at the cinema, reported Sinar Plus.
"This is a new rule and LFS Cinemas Kuala Terengganu can be said to be the first cinema in Malaysia to implement this measure. As far as I know, there are no other cinemas that enforce a similar measure," Zulmajdi added.
"The management is still new to this rule, [but] we are ready to fix any shortcomings to ensure the satisfaction of our moviegoers."