SCHOOLS should provide private rooms for non-Muslim students and teachers to eat during Ramadhan, said legal officers yesterday, as the new Syariah laws will ban all consumption of food in public places during fasting hours.
During a briefing on the Syariah Penal Code Order for the Australian community, several parents were concerned about how their children would be able to eat at school during Ramadhan.
Hjh Hassanah Hj Hassan, deputy senior legal counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers, said while schools are considered public places, school management should provide rooms for non-Muslims to have their meals.
Offices should also provide a room for non-Muslim staff and women who cannot fast due to pregnancy or menstruation, she added.
Section 195 of the Syariah Penal Code Order states that any person who consumes any food, drink or tobacco in public during the fasting hours of Ramadhan is liable to a fine of up to $4,000 and/or one year in prison.
This law will apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Another Australian national asked officials whether it would be an offence to allow their young children to drink in public.
Hj Hardifadhillah Hj Mohd Salleh, a senior officer at the Islamic Legal Unit, said young children would be exempted from the law. According to the Syariah Penal Code Order, children who are not mumayyiz (old enough to differentiate matters) cannot be charged with an offence.
The Order also states that any person who sells food for on-the-spot consumption during fasting hours can be punished with a fine of up to $4,000 and/or one year in prison. Exceptions are medical practitioners who serve food, drink or medicine to patients.
The phased introduction of the Syariah Penal Code Order will commence on April 22, six months after it was approved by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
Members of the public can read the full text of the Order at http://www.agc.gov.bn.
The Brunei Times
Sun, April 6, 2014