A leading Malaysian political party has slammed a decision to charge a couple with indecent behaviour for holding hands in a public park.

The couple, Ooi Kean Thong and Siow Ai Wei, has been summonsed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall for the alleged offence in the capital in August last year and the New Straits Times reported they would appear in court next week.

But the move would make Malaysia the laughing stock of the world and affect its booming tourism industry, S Vijayaratnam, the vice-president of the Gerakan party, part of the country's ruling National Front coalition, said.

"It is the norm for Western couples to hold hands in public, will they be arrested too?" he told the Bernama news agency.

"We cannot have elements like these ruining the good reputation that Malaysia has built as a beautiful, safe and moderate nation, where tolerance is widely practised."

The party urged Federal Territories Minister Mohamad Isa Samad to intervene in the case and take firm action against overzealous enforcement officers.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1089441.htm