Ramadhan daytime dining ban holds firm
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ALL restaurants in Brunei are still not allowed to serve food to daytime diners during Ramadhan, the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) said in a statement yesterday.
Eateries that breach the regulation would be prosecuted under Chapter 195 of the Syariah Penal Code Order, for disrespecting the month of Ramadhan.
The law was enforced on May 1, 2014.
The ministry said non-Muslims can still have their food and drinks at their homes. Customers are also allowed to have takeaways from eateries.
Medical practitioners or those who serve food and drinks as well as medicine to patients are also exempted from the law.
The ministry said the law applies to all public places, including restaurants.
“A public place is where everyone can have access, be they free to enter or there are fees imposed upon entrance,” the statement said.
Public places include highways, streets, roads, fields, courts, alleys, lanes, sidewalks, recreational areas, wharves, piers, ports, bridges, public parks or open areas, cinemas and other public entertainment places.
MoRA said eateries and food entrepreneurs can offer delivery services where the quality and the taste of food remain fresh.
The ministry urged members of the public not to be confused between the obligation to fast during Ramadhan and respect for the holy month – the latter requires non-Muslims to abide by the provision of the law.
“Nevertheless, the mandate for non-Muslims to adhere to the law will need a little adjustment to fulfil the need of the law itself,” the ministry said.
“The adjustment is not something drastic where it is compulsory for them to fast like Muslims,” MoRA added.
The Brunei Islamic Religious Council first introduced the daytime dining ban during Ramadhan in 2013, before it was included in the Sultanate’s Syariah Penal Code.
Under the law, any persons found to consume, sell or serve food and drinks or tobacco in a public place during the day shall be liable to a penalty amounting up to $4,000 and/or a maximum of one-year imprisonment.
The Brunei Times