KOTA BARU: The Kelantan government’s directive for eateries to close from 8.30pm to 10pm this Ramadan to facilitate tarawih prayers has drawn public brickbats.
The directive dated May 6 issued by the Kelantan State Secretary’s office said the move was to ensure that all quarters would respect the holy month of Ramadan and to encourage Muslims to perform tarawih prayers at the mosques or surau.
This drew various reactions from the public and food operators who generally opposed the idea, comparing the situation to Madinah and Makkah where the eateries do not close during the said prayer time.
The son of a former Kelantan mentri besar, Nik Muhammad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz also criticised the move in his Facebook posting yesterday, asking the Kelantan government to withdraw the directive, saying the decision went against the Ramadan month which encouraged Muslims to earn a living through “halal” means.
Last night, Bernama observed that most eatery operators ignored the directive by keeping their premises open for business during this supplementary prayer time.
Many of them said that such an order would kill their business.
“Who is going to bear the losses when the business I have run for decades every Ramadan does not bring profit?” said a food vendor in Kubang Kerian.
Declining to be named, he said thousands of ringgit was spent every Ramadan to buy fresh ingredients such as squid, crabs, chicken and vegetables to sell “colek”, a popular dish in Kelantan.
“If my eatery opens at 10pm till late, do you think I will be able to sell everything?” he asked.
Food operator Azhar Ahmat, 47, described the move as unreasonable and unfair, and questioned why the directive did not apply to fast food restaurants.
The writer also spoke to members of the public who found the directive inconvenient as some preferred to dine out at times after breaking their fast with something light at home.
“I usually take my family out to dine after breaking fast with something light at home to avoid the rush of preparing for a full meal.
“Many of us prefer to perform the tarawih prayers at home too, so it isn’t fair to assume that those who eat out during that time do not perform their tarawih,“ said Hafizul Azram, 42.
The directive also received a reaction from State Culture, Tourism and Heritage Committee chairman Major (Rtd) Datuk Md Anizam Ab Rahman, who played it safe by saying the move might have a slight impact on the state’s tourism industry.
Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah reportedly said that the temporary closure order was at the early stage and that restaurant operators were still free to run their business as usual.
He said the directive had not been made mandatory, adding that the move needed to be studied first so as to bring good to all parties.
The directive has also drawn the attention of Terengganu Mentri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar who issued a statement that the state would not go the Kelantan way in this matter. — Bernama