malaysiakini provided us with another sickening piece of news, that sort that makes you go real grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr .....eram.
On Tuesday, around midday, 25 officers of Jakim, the government religious department, arrived at Restoran Aiswaria in Lorong Maarof, Bangsar. They demanded to see certification that the eatery was halal. (kosher by Islamic standards).
The halal-ness of a restaurant is certified by an official document issued by an approved Islamic authority, but the restaurant staff couldn’t produce one, which meant the eatery’s kosher status at that stage was in doubt.
Wouldn’t one then expect those Jakim officer to demand some explanation or clarification from the owner or manager, such as why wasn’t a halal cert obtained or who the restaurant was serving – for example, the customers could be non-Muslims.
Nah, due process wasn’t exactly on the zealot minds of those Jakim officers, remembering they had gone to the restaurant in a 25-man squad, indicating they had already made up their mind that, barring a sneaky miracle by the Mamak (Indian Muslim) owner, it would be Terminator time.
So seeing there was no official halal documentation, the officials ripped into the restaurant, taking down framed Quranic verses and a picture of the Kaabah from the restaurant's walls.
Those Jakim wonders took down the Islamic paraphernalia to prevent the restaurant from misleading, presumably, the customers, according to one of Restoran Aiswaria's workers. Yes, Jakim officers implied that since the restaurant was not certified halal, Islamic items could not be placed on its walls. And I thought the halal cert was only to do with the food being served?
The picture and verses were taken by the officials and not returned to the owner. Why? Even assuming those Jakim blokes could demand the removal of the paraphernalia, why weren’t the restaurant staff instructed to remove them? Why the confiscation?
Mohammad Jehapar Ali Hussaien Kader (another Mamak), the outraged shop owner said he’s a Muslim so why was his shop raided and his possessions seized.
Compare this with a coffee shop in Terengganu which was alleged to be serving iced milo at RM1.80, purportedly 20 to 30 sens above the so-called usual price, at a time when the government awarded a pay rise to the public servants.
Enforcement officers from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry confiscated hundreds of dollars of goods, fined the owner RM22,500 (yes, that’s twenty plus thousands ringgit) and get this, tore down the shop’s signboard
… all because one glass of the shop’s iced milo was alleged to be 20 to 30 sens above whatever price the enforcement officers had claimed to be the norm.
In fact, the shop owner disputed that, saying the price was already RM 1.80 way before the government officers had a pay rise. Besides, is milo a controlled item?
But the Terengganu Mentri Besar Jusoh Idris sort of gave the game plan away when he said the over the top compound fine would send the right signal to other operators from indiscriminately raising the price of food items.
What he meant was the signal was meant for the voters of Terengganu. Likewise, we may suppose the Jakim raid had a similar motive.