KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The Kelantan government has officially discontinued a May 6 directive for food outlet operators to halt operations from 8.30pm to 10pm during Ramadan following public outcry.
Malay daily Kosmo! reported today that Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob’s administration has opted to make the closures voluntary but appended its recommendation for them to do so.
“Local authorities have issued a new letter in the form of an ‘encouragement’ notice for business owners to close their respective premises during the one-and-half hour duration to respect the time for prayers.
“The exco has answered before this, disregard the previous (letter) and refer to the new letter,” Ahmad reportedly said after officiating the “Madinah Ramadan” event at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium premises two nights ago.
Last Monday, the state secretary’s office issued the letter to the head of the local authorities management directing that food outlets be closed from 8.30 to 10pm during Ramadan.
The new ruling drew intense public criticism including from PAS MP Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz who urged the state government to reconsider.
A day later, Kelantan’s Local Authority, Housing and Health Exco Izani Husin reportedly issued a statement to explain that food outlet operators were only encouraged to pause operations and not ordered to do so.
The change from “order” to “encouragement” caused further confusion and prompted businesses to demand greater clarity on the policy.
Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah added to the confusion by saying that the ruling was only applied at the administrative level and would require further studies before it can be fully enforced.