THE government is currently drafting an amendment to two existing Acts that shall sanction punishment against non-Muslim restaurant owners who serve Muslim customers and Muslims who eat at non-halal restaurants. These provisions will come into force when the new Halal licensing policy takes full effect in 2014, an officer from the Syariah Affairs Department said yesterday.
Hj Kasim Hj Mohamad, from the Halal Food Control Division, in an interview on the sidelines of a briefing of the new policy conducted in Tutong said, the punitive action will be taken against restaurants under "limited" type or restoran terhad which should only cater to non-Muslim customers.
"These limited restaurants will obviously serve non-halal food therefore Muslims are not allowed to eat there," he said.
He added that non-Muslim restaurant owners who allow customers to eat at their restaurants will be punished and so will their Muslim customers.
"This issue will be amended under the Miscellaneous Licence Act (to complement the new policy) where in the future, any non-halal restaurant owners serving Muslim customers will be fined accordingly. There's no law (on the issue) yet but the Act will be amended," Hj Kasim said.
He went on to say that the Muslim customers found guilty of the offence will, however, be charged under paragraph 77 of the Islamic Religious Council and Kadi Courts Act, which will also be amended to support the new policy.
"The type of punishment will be fines, but it is still in the drafting process. We can't comment as to when it will be ready but I can assure you that the fines will be imposed," the officer said.
"We shall see what will be stipulated in the Acts once they are ready." The Tutong District Office yesterday held a briefing on Halal certificates and labels for food premises and restaurants in the Tutong district to increase their knowledge of the new Halal policy that will take effect on January 1, 2014.
Several topics were covered at the briefing presented by officers from the Tutong District Office, Tutong Municipal Department and the Halal Food Control Division Officer at the Syariah Affairs Department. According to Tutong's District Office Public Relations Unit, the District Office is overseeing 83 business establishments in the entire district while the Tutong Municipal Department will monitor the operations of 36 restaurants in Tutong Town. The briefing was held at the Tutong Community Hall.
The Brunei Times
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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