Monday, November 3, 2014

MALAYSIA:::Penang finally imposes ban on foreign cooks

The Penang government has decided to ban foreign cooks for street hawkers, after 86 percent of respondents in its survey supported the proposal.

The Penang Municipal Council survey showed that 14 percent of the respondents disagreed with the ban, which proponents say will protect the authencity of Penang food.

State executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow, who chairs the Local Government committee, said the survey was based on face-to-face and online interviews conducted with 14,810 people from July 25 to Aug 31.
Chow (holding forms in picture) said the respondents comprised 8,272 Penangites, 6,493 local tourists and 45 foreign tourists.

"According to the survey, 86.02 percent agreed with  the Penang Municipal Council withdrawing the licences of hawkers who employ foreign cooks, and only 13.98 percent rejected the idea," Chow told a press conference today.

He said a sticker bearing the tagline 'Penang Food is the best' will be given to outlets complying with the policy.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the policy will be implemented next year, in which the requirement for street hawkers to employ only local cooks will be added as one of the criteria in their licence application.

One year to comply

It will apply to all street hawkers and food outlets in shopping complexes. Restaurants will be exempted from the policy.

"The hawkers will be given a one-year transition period to fully comply with the policy.

"Foreigners can assist the cook or help with cleaning the shops but the main cooks must be locals," Lim said.

The proposal has elicited mixed reaction, with those from within and outside Penang taking to social media to voice their opinion.

Those who support the decision say Lim is doing the right thing to preserve the taste of Penang food, which is seen throughout the world as representative of Malaysian cuisine.

Tourism Minister Nazri Aziz had given a thumbs up to the proposal while others, like Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, described the idea as “ridiculous”

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