The Penang state government is going to develop policies to ban foreign workers from working as main cooks in hawker food businesses to preserve the authenticity of local hawker cuisine. Once the ban is implemented, hawker licences of violators might be revoked.
Hawker food and heritage sites are Penang's main selling points to attract tourists and thus, they should be preserved and protected. In fact, having foreign workers as main cooks is not a problem faced only by Penang, but also other states, particularly big cities like Kuala Lumpur, where eight out of 10 cooks in hawker stalls are now foreign workers. If the government still takes no appropriate actions to curb the problem and hawker owners still do not face it seriously, hawker food business might soon face self-destruction. Once traditional cuisine losses its authenticity, what else is left in Malaysia's traditional culture?