On 7 May 2019, it was reported that all restaurant and food stalls operators in the state of Kelantan were ordered to close their businesses between 8.30pm and 10pm throughout Ramadan, effective immediately.
The orders which were signed by state government Deputy Secretary Datuk Adnan Hussin said that the closure was to “respect the holy month of Ramadan” and to encourage Muslims to attend Terawih prayers at mosques and surau.
Today, just two days later, the state has made a U-turn on the ruling. According to The Star, Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah confirmed that eateries in Kelantan are free to operate during Terawih prayers, as the order has yet to be enforced.
“As long as there is no further instruction from the local authorities, the operators can continue their business as usual,” he said.
When news broke about the closure of eateries during Terawih prayers, the order was met with a lot of backlash. Many food operators told Bernama that such an order would kill their business.
“Who is going to bear the losses when the business I have run for decades every Ramadan does not bring profit?” queried a food vendor in Kubang Kerian.
Another food operator stated that he spends thousands of ringgit every Ramadan to buy fresh ingredients such as squid, crabs, chicken, and vegetables to sell colek, a popular dish in Kelantan. But with the closure order, he was scared that he wouldn’t be able to sell everything on time.
Another food operator Azhar Ahmat, described the move as unfair and questioned why the directive did not apply to fast food restaurants.
Not only netizens and food operators questioned the closure, even PAS central committee member-Bachok MP Nik Abduh Nik Aziz spoked out. He stated that the directive went against the spirit of Ramadan, adding that the state government should instead be encouraging Muslims to operate legitimate businesses to earn “halal” money.
Luckily for them, the closure has not been enforced. Were we disappointed at first? Sure. Were we surprised? Not really and you can guess why.
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