Restauranteurs in Kelantan will have more than health, hygiene and safety to contend with when authorities issue their evaluations around the state’s thousands of food outlets.
Local officials will now be adding Islamic dress codes to their list of checks and balances. They will be docking restaurants points should they fail to ensure their staff’s aurat.
In Islam, aurat refers to parts of the body that should not be seen in public. While some say that it refers merely to genitals and a woman’s breasts, some conservatives consider even a woman’s voice to be aurat, as it could be a “temptation”.)
In addition, of course to hygienic food prep, handling, and overall restaurant cleanliness.
Local council president Ahmad Robert Abdul Rahman told The Star that in order to get an A rating, all conditions must be fulfilled, including dress codes. District health officials will be working with their municipal government counterparts to ensure that all 3,018 licensed food outlets have been graded according to these new conditions.
Malaysia is a generally open country, with very moderate Islam practiced. However, Kelantan is a more conservative state, where Sharia law is implemented and enforced. For example, segregation occurs in the public sphere: hair salons, supermarket checkout counters and sports tournaments. Even cinemas must adhere to the strict Sharia codes of the state, should they intend on staying open. Muslim women working in public spaces must also wear hijab.
Recent appallingly lax food-safety practices at local restaurants made public via social media have left many Malaysians wondering just how chill we are willing to be with regards to our food hygiene.
Between washing plates in potholes, to crows getting first dibs on our poultry before it’s chicken rice, to worm-tainted tinned sardines, most have been too busy to wonder about the state of their meal to wonder too much about jeans being too tight.
Good to know Kelantan got time for that.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.