No official complaint lodged over viral Sg Ara chicken rice controversy

GEORGE TOWN: The state government and the Penang Islamic Religious Department (JHEAIPP) have yet to receive an official complaint on claims that a Malay-owned chicken rice stall had obtained the dish from a non-Muslim restaurant.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said as such, no one had been called to give statements over the matter.

He said the stall owner and workers, as well as several individuals allegedly involved in the claim, had been identified but yet to be called for investigation.

"However, I have directed agencies such as JHEAIPP to carry out a probe into the allegation as it involved the sensitivity of the Muslim population," he said today.

"The investigation is focused on the content of the social media post. We are only responding based on what we found on social media."

He said the matter would be investigated in detail before any action could be taken.

"The preliminary investigation has been carried out, but there is more to be done," he added.

A viral video clip that is two minutes and 38 seconds long showed two Malay men outside a non-Muslim restaurant in Paya Terubong where they unloaded food containers from the trunk of a car and brought them inside. It was alleged that the food obtained from the restaurant was later sold at a Muslim-owned restaurant in Sg Ara.

The clip has caused uneasiness among Muslims, especially customers who have bought chicken rice at the stall.

It is understood that after the footage had gone viral, the stall owner was forced to temporarily close his business.

"If the allegations are true, it is clearly an irresponsible act. It is a form of deception and lie, therefore it is sinful. It becomes more serious as it involves food that we consume.

"In any case, we urge all parties to wait until we complete the investigation. We cannot make assumptions based on what we see on social media. A thorough investigation needs to be conducted first," Zakiyuddin said.

Meanwhile, the Penang Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) said it would conduct further checks with JHEAIPP over the matter.

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