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Monday, June 26, 2017

Food stall ordered shut for alleged shariah non-compliance

Stall operator’s plea and phone conversation purportedly with a high ranking official at a government educational institution in Penang goes viral.
Food-stallGEORGE TOWN: An education institution on mainland Penang has allegedly told the only non-Muslim food stall operator in the campus canteen to cease operations as his stall is not “shariah compliant”.
The operator, who has been serving Indian food at the government institution in Seberang Perai for more than six months, is upset. It is claimed that an appeal by both the stall operator and Indian students at the institution has been rejected by the administration.
The institution, however, has denied the accusation.
The stall is the only Indian food outlet among several Malay outlets at the institution, under the ministry of education, that offers various courses.
The food stall operator has since voiced his unhappiness with the institution’s administrators on WhatsApp and Facebook.
On Facebook, a post shared by Melissa Ann MM has garnered nearly 1,000 shares at the time of writing. Melissa appears to be a student of the college.
An identical statement by a food seller by the name of “Gopy” has also gone viral on WhatsApp.
It was attached with a voice recording of a conversation said to be between one of the institutions’s top administrators and the affected food seller.
In the recording, a man, apparently in the top ranks of the institution, says the food seller’s appeal against the decision to let him go had been rejected.
“Aren’t you that Indian shop? The appeal has failed, I am not sure why…we are implementing shariah-compliant ISO (standards), maybe your shop was selling non-halal food, right?
“That is why we could not consider (the appeal),” the man is heard saying.
The food seller is them heard pleading with him, saying he has spent a lot of money on the stall and has not broken even yet. He says he knows he “is not a Muslim” and that is the reason he sources his meats from the “same place Muslims get their meats”.
The man is heard saying: “I am sorry but I am new here, but the instructions are as such.”
Earlier, Gopy, in laying out the problem, says in the audio clip that 300 students had petitioned against the removal of the only Indian food shop on campus but that it was unsuccessful.
“(After running the outlet)…for the past six months, the college terminated my contract due to ISO shariah law in which non-Muslims are not allowed to do any sort of business as they say it’s not halal,” the message reads.
FMT cannot independently verify the veracity of the statement made by Gopy.
In an immediate response, a spokesman for the institution denied the contents of the viral post, and said a police report had been lodged at the Bukit Mertajam police station on June 26.
The spokesman said he could not make any other comments as the director was on leave.
However, he said a full investigation into the matter would be initiated on Thursday when the director returned from his break. -FMT

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