Ten-minute break for Maghrib payers, non-Muslim shops are to comply too

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Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

(Kelantan, Kota Bharu, 17 Apr) All shops including businesses operated by non-Muslims are instructed to close for 10 minutes for Muslims to perform Maghrib prayers, said Kelantan state exco Datuk Abdul Fatah Mahmood.

Abdul Fatah, who is state executive councilor for local government, housing, youth and sports, said everyone would be able to take a break to pray.

“The 10-minute break is not long. The most important thing is all business operations are resumed only after the prayers.”

The measure originally was only planned for areas which come under the Kota Bharu Municipal Council. However, the measure was implemented in several parts of the state starting last year.

Staff are assigned to blow the whistles

He said the council would arrange for its staff to blow whistles 15 minutes before Maghrib prayers informing all traders to be ready for a break. A second whistle is blown 10 minutes before prayer’s time as reminder. Currently, the measure is implemented at night market. It would only be expanded to other business areas after observation for some time.

“Enforcement staff of local council work with the committee members of hawkers’ association. These committee members are duty bound to inform their peers to abide by the regulation. Those who violate the rules would be warned. They are instructed to stop operating their business for ignoring the reminders. Like the enforcement carried out by health authorities, all hawkers are to read the declaration.”

Abdul Fatah said up till now, business operators and the general public comply with the regulation.

He said state government also instructed all shopping malls to abide by the regulation for their staff, including cashiers to be able to take a short break. Such measure earns compliments from overseas scholars. He said the measure is taking consideration of both business operators and consumers and not for the government.

Chua Hock Kuan: Non-Muslims should not be involved

MCA youth central committee member Chua Hock Kuan said non-Muslims should not be blamed for opposing the amendment bill of Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1976 Act (RUU 355) when the state government implements such practice.

He said the implementation of syariah law would somehow affect secular regulation to some extent and non-Muslims are affected. In other words, when the status of Syariah Court is upgraded, administrative regulations are set based on Muslim’s standard in an indirect way. The rights and freedom of non-Muslims are turning weaker. For instance, goods are required to comply with halal standard, planning of places of worships, adjustment of working hours, staff benefits, tax system and freedom of speech would gradually change.

“The Kelantan state government has other more pressing matters to pay attention to, such as the economic development.”

To him, the regulation should not involve non-Muslims. In contrast, Muslims know their time for prayers. Non-Muslim shops are to handle non-Muslim customers and not to be restrained by the Islamic teachings that Muslims are to abide by.

He stressed that if anyone opposes such measure, he should not be seen as not showing respect to Islam or anti-Islam. PAS has been stressing that it does not enforce Syariah law on non-Muslims.