PASIR Gudang City Council (MBPG) should consider turning the subdistrict into a multiracial culinary hotspot by upgrading the “kebayan centres” or food courts.
MBPG councillor Noor Azleen Ambros said the council should focus on development projects that reflect its current status as a city, especially in showcasing the multiracial population of Pasir Gudang.
“Every development we do in Pasir Gudang should reflect our identity as a multiracial country and we can start by upgrading the kebayan centres as it is one of the things we are famous for.
“The kebayan should not be exclusive to one race; instead, we should open it up as a hawker centre for Chinese, Indians, Malays and other races to sit together and strengthen our bond through food, ” he said when contacted in Johor Baru.
There are presently more than 20 kebayan centres catering to the different ethnic groups in Pasir Gudang, which has a population of more than 500,000.
Noor Azleen said the issue of separating halal and non-halal food at the food court could be addressed administratively.
“We have been segregated since our younger days in school, do we still need to be segregated even now when it comes to food?
“Food is an important part of our lives, so we should set up a place where all races can come and enjoy it together under one roof; that could be the new image of Pasir Gudang, ” he said.
He added that new MBPG president Asman Shah Abd Rahman, who was Tourism Johor director, had a lot of experience in creating ecotourism products, and this could benefit Pasir Gudang.
“We have mangrove areas that can be developed for ecotourism, aside from fishing villages in Kampung Pasir Gudang Baru and Kampung Kuala Masai that can be turned into tourist attractions, ” said Noor Azleen.
He also said that every development should prioritise the people and no one should be left out.
“We need to approach this from a holistic angle and take into consideration all aspects of life in Pasir Gudang so that every move we make will benefit the residents.
“For the past few years, Pasir Gudang has become infamous due to the Sungai Kim Kim pollution incident.
“It is high time that we look for long-term solutions by making sure every development we plan is sustainable, ” he reiterated.