22 arrested at Geylang Bazaar
Unregistered food handlers arrested in joint operation by MOM, NEA and police
Twenty-two unregistered food handlers were arrested at the Hari Raya bazaar in Geylang yesterday afternoon in a joint operation by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Environment Agency (NEA) and the police.
An MOM spokesman told The New Paper that during the joint operation "we found 22 unregistered food handlers who were also working illegally".
Pictures of the operation showing the men being arrested in front of dendeng (meat jerky) stalls at the bazaar had created confusion online.
Some netizens speculated that the arrests were made over a halal food issue.
Pasir Ris-Punggol MP Zainal Sapari had earlier addressed the issue in response to photos circulating online and via WhatsApp.
Responding to a comment thread on public Facebook group Halal Cafe & Restaurants in Singapore, Mr Zainal wrote: "It was a joint operation between NEA, police and MOM.
"During the inspection, they found unlicensed food handlers that were also working illegally which is an arrestable offence."
Mr Muhammad Mustaffa, 33, the organiser of the Geylang Bazaar, told TNP: "We have told non-Muslim tenants that if they intend to sell food items in the bazaar, they must have a Muslim partner to guarantee that the items on sale will be halal."
TNP understands that the operation was carried out along the stretch of the bazaar opposite Tristar Inn on Geylang Road.
When TNP went to the bazaar last night, some stall owners said the arrests were made because the people were working illegally and that their food items were indeed halal.
One stall had even displayed boxes from their suppliers which had the halal certification printed on them.
The Geylang Bazaar, which features about 1,000 stalls, opened last Friday and will run till June 24.