KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Resources Ministry’s announcement to have only local cooks preparing local delights has divided Malaysians on social media.
Some Malaysians welcome the ministry’s proposal, while others feel it is an impractical move that would only drive prices up.
On The Star’s Facebook page, Emily Yee said she prefers local food cooked by local people for the authentic tastes that she feels hit the right notes.
“This could give more opportunities to local cooks, especially newbies who have just graduated,” she said.
Rodney Ong concurred, adding that citizens should come first.
“The restaurant associations should set up cooking schools to teach citizens,” he said.
Ian YC opined that Malaysia has lots of good chefs but the problem is restaurant owners are not willing to pay the right amount of money for the job.
Winnie Chin said the decision would translate into more jobs for Malaysians and tighter food quality controls.
However, Wendy Lam pointed out that many Malaysians did not want to work in the kitchen, and based on her previous work experience, eatery owners also preferred not to hire Malaysians.
“Locals think it is low-class pay, that it does not pay enough.
“They also always take medical leave and have attitude problems.
“If you have not worked in a kitchen before, please be fair,” she said.
Balbindar Singh said the ministry’s announcement could make food prices even more expensive.
“Has anyone considered how much meals at your next restaurant visit or mamak will cost once the foreign labour is gone?” he said.
While admitting that Malaysia might have an over-dependence on foreigners, Balbindar said that the ministry’s move to target the food and beverage industry is not going to solve the problem.
“Pulling out foreign workers in six months is going to be catastrophic for small and medium enterprises, which are the backbone of our economy,” he said.
Anthony Khor weighed in on the discussion, concluding that there should not be a problem hiring foreign cooks as long as eatery owners monitor hygiene and ensure cooks have passed stringent medical tests, including getting vaccinations.
“Enforcers play a vital role here to monitor them on a regular basis.
“Check on the local cooks as well. Are they currently complying to hygiene standards?
“Get themselves and all food handlers vaccinated against typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera, even though only the typhoid vaccine is compulsory,” he said.
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