The Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) confirmed yesterday that all restaurants - both halal and non-halal - would not be allowed to serve food for daytime diners during Ramadhan.
MUIB Acting Secretary Hj Abd Aziz Hj Akop (pic) said restaurants are still allowed to remain open to accommodate take-away orders.
Reading from a statement at a press conference yesterday, he said restaurants serving dine-in customers during the fasting hours in the month of Ramadhan would be penalised under the Syariah Penal Code Order.
Restaurant owners have been advised to inform their staff - either verbally or in writing - regarding the rules or prepare a notice informing all customers that dining-in is prohibited during the fasting period.
Quoting Chapter 195 of the Syariah Penal Code Order, "Not Respecting the Month of Ramadhan", he said any individual found eating, drinking or inhaling anything in public could receive a fine of up to $4,000 and/or a maximum of one-year imprisonment.
Hj Abd Aziz said that these public places include restaurants, food courts, cafes and markets.
The acting MUIB secretary emphasised that both Muslims and non-Muslims would be liable under this provision.
If a restaurant was caught serving food or drinks to individuals during the fasting hours, it will be assumed that the owner of the restaurant is abetting in the crime and will be liable for punishment, he added.
However, he said the penalty does not apply to healthcare workers administering medicine or serving food to patients requiring it.
"For example, if an individual finds an injured person in the middle of the street who needed food, water or medicine, then the individual feeding the injured person will not be committing an offence under this provision," said Hj Abd Aziz.
The acting secretary did not take questions from the media during the press conference at the Ministry of Religious Affairs headquarters.
It was previously reported that restaurants owners were unclear about the daytime dining ban during Ramadhan.
The MUIB last year issued a directive prohibiting restaurants to serve food to customers at their premises during the fasting period. The directive also applies to foreigners, including tourists.