GEORGE TOWN: Penang has confirmed the ban on foreigners being employed as "main cooks" for its renowned hawker fares to retain the unique local taste and flavour.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said hawkers would be given a one-year grace period starting Jan 1, 2015, to enable them to adjust to the new ruling which would be effective on Jan 1, 2016.
"This will be done in stages, not immediately," Lim told a press conference.
The ban on foreigners as cooks was an effort to ensure the unique local taste and flavour of Penang's hawker fare is retained, said Lim.
He said all hawkers operating at coffee shops, hawker complexes, shopping mall food courts, as well as those in the streets, must ensure that only locals are employed to cook local delicacies.
"We will also insert in this condition in their licence. Failure to abide by it will result in action being taken," he told a press conference in Komtar, Friday.
State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said that all hawkers would have to abide by the ruling by Jan 1, 2016.
Chow said that according to the survey, 86 per cent agreed with the Penang Municipal Council withdrawing the licences of hawkers who employed foreign cooks, and only 13.98 per cent rejected the idea.
He added that a sticker bearing the tagline 'Penang Food is the Best' would be given to outlets complying with the policy.