A healthy Muslim who eats in public or drinks in public during the month of Ramadan (fasting month) is sinning according to Islamic rules.
In many Muslim countries, it is also against the law to deliberately eat or drink in public during the month.
This year, the state of Penang which is under the control of the Pakatan Harapan (Malaysian opposition group) is reminding Muslims of the laws regarding Ramadan.
If convicted, Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said they could face charges under the Penang Syariah Criminal Law Enactment 1996 which is a fine of not more than RM1,000 or a sentence of not more than six months in prison, or both, for a first offence.
“During the fasting month, Penang will organise a campaign to honour Ramadan by holding an integrated operation, which is one of the manifestations of the state’s Islamic administration’s initiative to invite Muslims to glorify the holy month together.
“The objective of the integrated operation is to raise the awareness of Muslims as well as to eradicate acts of disrespect for the month of Ramadan such as deliberately eating or drinking in public while not being sick,” he said in a statement to the national news agency, Bernama.
Every year, the cops, dubbed the “moral police” by some, would patrol the streets in their uniforms, checking on establishments.
Their job is to check the IDs of those who appear to be Muslim and are eating during the fasting period.
According to some reports, refusing to show identification cards is a crime and can lead to arrest.
However, if they discover that you are a Muslim who has been drinking and eating during the fasting period, you will very likely be fined or sentenced to prison.
Holding hands in public
In some states in Malaysia, it is not allowed for Muslim couples (not married) to hold hands or to kiss in public.
Men are also not allowed to walk in shorts that are above the knee in public. The knee, in Islam, exposes a man’s body part is supposed to remain covered while in public.
People can get fined for all those offences if they are not careful while going around in the streets of Malaysia.