This BN Member Wants All Restaurants And Hotels In Penang To Apply For Halal Certificate

The BN Bertam rep also thinks that the Muslim-friendly move could boost Penang's tourism industry.

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Barisan Nasional (BN) Bertam assemblyman, Shariful Azhar Othman, yesterday, urged the Penang state government to ensure that all restaurants and hotels in the state are Muslim-friendly

BN Bertam rep Shariful Azhar Othman

Image via The Malaysian Insider

Shariful proposed that the state government require every hotel and restaurant in the state to apply for halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) to assure food and drinks provided were halal.

"In Japan, there are many 'Muslim-friendly' restaurants where you can get halal food and facilities required by Muslims," he added.

He brought up this new Muslim-friendly suggestion, during his speech in a debate on Budget 2016 at the Penang State Assembly.

Agreeing with Shariful, BN Teluk Air Tawar leader Jahara Hamid, stressed that, "No Pork" signage does not always indicate that an eatery is halal

A 'No pork, no lard' signage in a bakery

Image via HANIFF.SG

Jahara next brought up another matter of concern for Muslims, which was the "no pork" signs displayed at some restaurants in Penang.

This, she said, caused confusion to some Muslims and there must be efforts to explain that "no pork" did not necessarily mean "halal".

Shariful said at restaurants in other cities like London, care was taken to explain to Muslims guests that there were non-meat dishes available on the menu, but they had to be careful in case the dishes contained alcohol.
Image via Sushi King

Aside from restaurants, the BN Bertam rep also wants all hotels in Penang to be installed with bidets, water hoses and ablution corners for the Muslims to perform wudu, the ritual washing that Muslims do in preparation for daily prayers and worship

An ablution area in a washroom

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Shariful Azhar Othman (BN-Bertam) said toilets without tap water were inconvenient for Muslims who wished to clean up.

"Being able to use water to wash up in toilets is important to Muslims. It will not be an inconvenience to anyone to have it available," he said in his speech to debate the state's 2016 budget.

"I am confident that if hotels in Penang are Muslim-friendly , they will attract more tourists to the state, especially Muslims. This practice is appropriate and does not pose a problem for non-Muslims.

"It must be made compulsory for toilets at hotel lobby and rooms to have toilets with piped water," he said when debating the Supply Bill 2016 in the State Assembly here today.

According to the BN representatives, a Muslim-friendly Penang can bring in more Middle Eastern tourists, that are known to spend billions on food and shopping

Image via Daily Mail UK

Shariful said Penang should put in such efforts to make the state a popular destination for Muslim visitors, like those from the Middle East.

"Malaysia was recently named a shopping haven, with Kuala Lumpur ranked the second most popular shopping destination for Muslim travellers.

"Muslim travellers spend billions of dollars on shopping and on food. If Kuala Lumpur can make the list, Penang can do it too," he said.

He added that Penang could do more to promote itself as a destination for Muslim tourists and one way to do that was to make sure the state had suitable facilities and amenities.
Image via Daily Mail UK

Meanwhile, the government recently implemented trolley segregation laws for halal and non halal items in shopping malls, to avoid cross-contamination:

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