Now, Segamat municipal council denies clandestine op to catch non-fasting Muslims

Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Segamat Municipal Council personnel conducting checks on a food stall May 15, 2019. — Picture from Facebook/Majlis Perbandaran Segamat

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Segamat Municipal Council (MPS) has today denied reports of its officers disguising themselves as food stall operators, cooks and waiters in a special operation to catch Muslims who do not fast during Ramadan.

In a statement, MPS also denied that its own president Mohd Masni Wakiman was the one quoted in the reports, claiming that it had never issued any statement on the matter.

“MPS has never conducted any operation in disguise to spy on Muslim individuals who are not fasting during the month of Ramadan as stated.

“Such a move is beyond the jurisdiction of MPS,” the council said.

MPS’ own president was quoted by English daily New Straits Times (NST) as saying that the council in Johor was working with the Segamat Islamic Religious Department to track those Muslims down, especially at stalls under MPS’ supervision.

Mohd Hasni had reportedly said that MPS has 32 enforcement officers, including two officers who are good at making roti canai, tea and mee goreng mamak, who will disguise themselves as cooks and waiters to catch Muslims eating at the 185 food stalls.

He was quoted saying that the council had purposely selected “dark-skinned” enforcement officers to pose as Indonesian or Pakistani workers.

Mohd Masni added that once the order is sent, the enforcement officer will secretly take a photograph of the person enjoying the meal and immediately alert the Segamat Islamic Religious Council for them to take appropriate action.

But MPS denied this as being remarks made by its own president, but did not clarify in the statement as to whether he had been misquoted or whether his comments had been taken out of context.

Muslims are allowed to abstain from fasting if they are unable to, such as when travelling or sick, and can replace the lost days later.

Under Section 15 of Johor’s Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1997, those who sell food to fasting Muslims or Muslims who skip from fasting can be penalised with a fine not more than RM1,000, imprisoned not more than six months, or both, for their first offence.

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