Letter to editor
MANY Malaysians read with dismay the actions taken by a popular cake house franchise to issue a blanket ban on piping Christmas greeting on its cakes.
The move smacked of religious bigotry. Many netizens have slammed the bakery for its insensitivity and called out the operations manager for misinterpreting JAKIM regulations.
That this is even an issue is a sad reflection of the state of affairs in the country. As Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg quite succinctly put it – “This is stupid”.
The bakery in question has since issued an apology while JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) has issued a statement outlining the do’s and don’ts affecting halal certification.
Many netizens had pointed out that JAKIM had merely stated that halal outlets CANNOT display items with Christmas greetings. Of course these outlets are free to take orders and fulfil customer requests for festive greetings.
No biggie, right?
Not really, no.
Going by JAKIM’s logic, it would also mean that halal outlets CANNOT put up any sort of Christmas decorations, correct?
Does this also extend to other festivals such as Lunar New Year and Deepavali?
It is almost disingenuous of JAKIM to make it look like their ruling is very reasonable and had been misinterpreted.
Since when did joining fellow Malaysians in festivities become a “crime”?
Perhaps JAKIM should really make it crystal clear – decorations of any sort celebrating or wishing non-Muslims happy festivities is forbidden if these outlets want to maintain their halal status.
Make absolutely no mistake that if this reader’s interpretation of JAKIM regulations on this issue is correct, it would mean halal certified outlets CANNOT openly display, wish or decorate their premises with non-Muslim greetings.
That means no brightly coloured Christmas tree or simple banners wishing customers Happy Deepavali, Gong Xi Fa Cai or Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak, right?
Isn’t this a clear rejection of cultural diversity and the idea of multi-faith harmony?
This could be the reason why so many Malaysians were less than enthused when PMX announced an even bigger allocation for JAKIM in the national budget.
In fact, non-Muslims cannot be blamed for feeling that following the Berry’s Cake House fiasco, JAKIM is seemingly sowing seeds of discord instead of fortifying inter-racial harmony by forcing outlets to toe the line and NOT partake in the country’s many festivals.
Such narrow-mindedness must stop, beginning with JAKIM which has a lucrative government funding at its disposal. – Dec 21, 2023
Sweet Toothed Malaysian
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.