No offence committed by Sg Ara chicken rice stall

GEORGE TOWN: No action will be taken against the chicken rice stall in Sungai Ara that went viral amidst accusations of serving non-halal food as the owner has not committed any offence according to Islamic laws.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said based on investigations by the Penang Islamic Religious Department (JHEAIPP), there were no offences committed by the owner as far as Islamic laws were concerned.

"As such, no legal action will be taken against the owner from any Islamic agencies.

"However, we advise food businesses which intend to sell their food products as halal to get proper halal certification. As for those with no certification, do not to confuse the public (by operating without halal certification). They must be sincere.

"In this particular case, we encourage the owner to get the halal certification and follow the procedure," he told the New Straits Times when contacted to comment on the matter.

The issue came to light after a two-minute, 38-second video clip went viral. It shows two 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 chicken rice stall in Sungai Ara.

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

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

JHEAIPP said yesterday that their probe into the matter showed the viral chicken rice stall was operating without a halal certification or Sijil Pengesahan Halal Malaysia (SPHM).

Acting JHEAIPP director Mohd Hanif Omar @ Wahab had also said that checks at another branch at a food court in Persiaran Gurney, owned by the same person, found it was also operating without halal certification.

Zakiyuddin said the chicken rice stall had obtained their chicken and duck meat from non-Muslim sources.

He, however, said there was no law prohibiting it.

"Many non-Muslim businesses acquired halal status. No problem with that and Muslims do accept this," he added.

Meanwhile, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry said it was conducting further investigations into the viral chicken rice stall in Sungai Ara and its branch at a food court in Persiaran Gurney here.

Deputy Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid said investigation would be jointly carried out with the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) and vowed that stern action would be taken against wrong-doers.

Rosol said the ministry had been contacted on the matter and the authorities found no wrongdoing by the premises in relation to any laws under its jurisdiction.

"It is an offence to claim food items sold are halal, when they are not. Nevertheless, we will carry out further probe with Jakim in this matter," he told a press conference after the launch of the Tealive Merdeka Coffee at Pavillion here today.

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