Muslims In Penang Found Eating & Drinking In Public During Ramadan Can Be Fined & Jailed

Meanwhile, in Kelantan, action will be taken against restaurant operators if their businesses are open before 3pm during Ramadan. Non-Muslim premises with written approval will be exempted.

Cover image via Muhammad Sulaiman/New Straits Times & Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail

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Editor's Note: The story has been edited to clarify a statement by MPKB.

The religious authorities in Penang will monitor 120 locations across the state to catch any Muslims who might be skipping fasting during Ramadan

The individuals, if found guilty, will be subject to actions under Section 15 of the Penang Syariah Criminal Law Enactment 1996, under which they can be fined up to RM1,000 or jailed for six months or both.

"For the second or subsequent offence, one can be fined a maximum RM2,000 or imprisoned up to a year or both upon conviction," Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abd Rahman warned.

Zakiyuddin is also the president of the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP).

According to him, the monitoring efforts will be carried out by Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAIPP)'s enforcement division together with agencies such as the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP), state Health Department, and JHEAIPP's Halal Management Division.

"The operations will also focus on the cleanliness of the premises as well as food handling, compliance with the conditions of the licence application, and other related provisions in accordance with the law," he said.

Zakiyuddin said the state wants to raise awareness among Muslims as well as eradicate acts of disrespect for the month of Ramadan

According to the Deputy Chief Minister, the monitoring efforts under the "Respect Ramadan Campaign" showed the seriousness of the state's Islamic administration to invite all Muslims to glorify the holy month.

"Hopefully, this operation will be raising awareness among the Muslims in the state to make Ramadan this year the best of all. In addition, it is also aimed at eradicating acts of disrespect towards the holy month such as deliberately eating or drinking in public without any hindrance or uzur syarie," he added.

Furthermore, Section 15 of the Penang Syariah Criminal Law Enactment 1996 can also be used against any person who sells any Muslim items such as food, drinks, or cigarettes in public during Ramadan.

Meanwhile, action will be taken against Muslim restaurant operators in Kelantan if their outlets are open before 3pm during Ramadan

According to a report in New Straits Times on 31 March, Kota Baru Municipal Council (MPKB) president Tuan Zainal Abidin Tuan Yusuf said action could also be taken against both customers and restaurant owners, especially those opening their business before 3pm during Ramadan.

"We will also take action against non-Muslim restaurant operators if their businesses are open before 3pm, as MPKB will only allow food premises to operate after 3pm during Ramadan," he was quoted as saying.

However, a statement posted on MPKB's Facebook page contradicts the New Straits Times' report.

According to the MPKB's statement, while restaurant operators, food shops, and hawkers are not allowed to conduct business before 3pm every day during the month of Ramadan, non-Muslim restaurant operators with written approval from the council will be exempted from this rule.

Prior to this, a Penang-based NGO urged Muslims to stop the practice of breaking fast at hotel buffets during the holy month of Ramadan:

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