Segamat council officers go undercover as cooks, secretly photograph non-fasting Muslims

G. Prakash
Mosque committee members prepare for iftar at Masjid Jamek in Seberang Jaya May 21, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Segamat Municipal Council (MPS) officers are disguising themselves as food stall operators, cooks and waiters in a bid to catch Muslims who do not fast during Ramadan.

MPS president Mohd Masni Wakiman told English daily New Straits Times (NST) 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 Masni said there are 185 licensed stalls and food outlets under MPS at 15 locations.

These include Segamat, Bandar Putra IOI, Segamat Baru, Jalan Segamat Muar, Taman Yayasan, Buloh Kasap, Jementah, Batu Anam and Bandar Utama.

He said 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.

“We have specially selected enforcement officers who are dark-skinned for the undercover job.

“They sound convincing when they speak the Indonesian and Pakistani lingo, so the customers will believe they are really hired to cook, serve meals and take orders,” he was reported as saying.

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.

“The MPS does not want to be seen as not making an effort to handle the issue of Muslims eating in the open during Ramadan.

“It is not only disrespectful for Islam, but also reflects badly on MPS as the act is committed at stalls under its supervision,” he said.

Meanwhile, Segamat kadi Baharin Jalal told NST that he appreciated the efforts shown by other agencies in safeguarding the image of Islam.

“I also advise food traders not to allow Muslims to eat at their stalls during the fasting period.

“The action of this small number of Muslims is shameful and gives the wrong impression of Islam in the eyes of those from other faiths,” he said.

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 the state’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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