Penang: The Human Resources Ministry’s call to have all restaurants in the country to only recruit Malaysians as cooks is not new for Penang as the state government had imposed a ban on foreigners from cooking local hawker fare from Jan 1, 2016.
Penang first proposed the ban in 2014, aimed to preserve the authenticity of hawker food.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Yew Tung Seang said the ban applied to specific true local hawker fare such as char koay teow, hokkien mee and assam laksa.
The enforcement on the ban is an ongoing process and hawkers who violate the ban would see their licences revoked.
In January, MBPP revoked the licences of 17 hawkers, while 16 hawkers lost their licences in 2016, with another one cancelled in 2017.
Seberang Prai Municipal Council president Datuk Rozali Mohamud said when Penang implemented the ban, the council faced little difficulty as all traders complied.
“The hawkers were cooperative. Those selling foreign food such as Thai Tom Yum were allowed to hire Siamese workers to ensure the food’s authenticity,” he said.