ALOR SETAR: More than 40 students of a religious institute were down with food poisoning after eating chicken and mutton nasi Arab donated by a restaurant after the breaking of fast on Tuesday night.
The students, aged between 18 and 23 years, of Institut Al-Quran Darul Aman in Jalan Sultanah here, experienced abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea during sahur at about 4am yesterday.
Muhammad Afham Anwar, 20, who is pursuing a diploma in Tahfiz al-Quran Wal Qiraat, said he ate the nasi Arab at 2am and started having abdominal pain and diarrhoea when he later woke up for sahur.
“When I ate the nasi Arab, the taste seemed okay and there was nothing strange about it.
“But, later when some of us started having stomach pains and diarrhoea, we believe it could have been due to the rice meal,” he said.
Another student, Mawardah Anuar, 20, said he ate the nasi Arab for sahur at around 5am and felt dizzy after having it.
“The chicken did smell a little strange, maybe because I had kept it for some time before consuming it,” he said.
Teachers at the institute rushed 40 of the students to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, where they were admitted.
Fifteen other students, who displayed mild stomach pains, were gathered at the institute’s administration office and were closely monitored by state health officers.
The institute’s deputy director Muhammad Yusni Yaakob said the management suspected something amiss when many students did not show up for lectures at 8am on Wednesday.
“We checked on them and found many complaining of stomach pain and diarrhoea.
“While some of them prepared their own food, many got food from restaurants outside their hostel.
“The particular rice meal had apparently arrived late at about 11pm on Tuesday, and so, many of them decided to keep it for sahur.
“If they had eaten it early, they would not have encountered this problem, as others who had it for supper did not experience such symptoms,” he said.
Muhammad Yusni said the management did not supply food to the students during Ramadan and the cafeteria is also closed throughout the month.
“The students are advised to get their own food from outside during this period.
“Apart from receiving food and drinks from Masjid Sultanah nearby, as well as from corporate bodies during Ramadan, we also have a few restaurants supplying food to the students for supper.
“We believe the food given by the particular restaurant could have been leftovers,” he said.