The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) clarified that it adopts a flexible approach for the consumption of outside food in halal-certified restaurants, after reports quoted McDonald’s Singapore as saying that only halal birthday cakes are allowed on its premises. (here)
MUIS clarified that in Singapore (*hint unlike Malaysia), customers can eat food that is not from the halal-certified restaurant in certain cases, such as with birthday cakes and baby food,
More importantly, restaurants that have halal certification may exercise discretion in such cases, as long as they adhere to the following criteria:
1 – There is no cross-contamination and the item is not brought into the kitchen, food preparation area or storage facilities.
2 – Only disposable cutlery is used for the outside food.
3 – The food item is consumed and any remnants bagged and disposed of immediately.
All fair points in our opinion.
The halal premise policy is meant to facilitate cohesion and integration by providing a space for Muslims in Singapore to dine and socialise.
Unlike Malaysia, who could easily turn this into another spat about Muslim Halal rights and what not (e.g. remember the religious movement to rename hot dogs into sausages), MUIS posture reflects the kind of tolerance (and more importantly common sense) that we promote in our society
MUIS even added that they “appreciates McDonald’s Singapore’s approach in only allowing halal-certified birthday cakes in its restaurants
So now that the authority’s position about halal food is clear, the ball is actually in the customer’s court – If they choose to be a self-entitled muslim person who enforces the policy without understanding its nuances or an individual with common sense and wisdom to understand that McDonalds (and other halal premises) is a shared common space with Muslims in the midst.
This is exactly the kind of education Singapore needs.