Bruneians unhappy over curbs on operating hours for shops, eateries

Bruneians unhappy over curbs on operating hours for shops, eateries

The directive to shops and restaurants not to operate after midnight has made many Bruneians unhappy.

The Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department had issued a circular on Thursday asking shops and restaurants, including sundry outlets (kedai runcit), to close after midnight.

A member of the public, Hj Mohd Adi, who requested his surname not to be mentioned, told The Brunei Times that the restriction would not augur well for the country.

"I understand that there are many reasons as to why this step has been taken. But some people who work late in the night may want to go for meals after their work," he said.

"I often finish work at midnight or later, and need to get food because it would be difficult for me to go home and get food and go back to my office," he added.

Hj Mohd Adi believes that the measure may have been taken to prevent crimes during the late hours. "I understand that crime can be reduced this way and safety can be enhanced, but there could be other ways to tackle this issue," he said.

With the holy month of Ramadhan around the corner, Hj Mohd Adi felt that this may affect the sahur (pre-fasting meal).

"Sahur will be more difficult, especially when we have work to finish. And getting a light meal would be a problem," he stressed.

Hjh Masni, who also requested her surname to be anonymous, gave similar reactions as that of Hj Mohd Adi.

She believed that the restriction may also slow down the process of the country's growth as it would limit business income.

"It will be harder for people who run eateries and food kiosks. A lot of youth do stay out late for their outings," she said.

Hjh Masni said the move may affect restaurants during Ramadhan. "People will only eat when they break their fast. After that there wouldn't be many people eating until sahur. Now people can't eat during sahur in restaurants anymore because they're closed," she said. Meanwhile, another local woman, Amirah Hj Said, felt the restriction is a positive step in developing the Sultanate.

"I was shocked when I found out from messages on social media but I do agree with the government's action because it is a positive step in preventing Muslims from inappropriate activities," she said.

She believed that businesses would not be affected by the implementation because they have enough time from morning till midnight.

"Businesses can go on till midnight and there will be a lot of customers coming in during those hours," she said.

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