Business owners lost in translation over BM ruling


Nurul Husna Johari, 24, putting on the menu in Bahasa Malaysia outside her shop in Union Street, Penang. (March 26,2021) - LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Although it is mandatory for businesses to provide a description of their services and products in Bahasa Malaysia, many business owners are claiming they are unaware of this ruling.

Restaurant owner Ng Chee Wooi, 43, claimed there had been no official notice.

“The rules will be a burden to me as business has been slow due to the Covid-19 pandemic. My menu is printed in English and Chinese. It will cost us a lot of money to print a new menu with Bahasa Malaysia translation. We will also have to reprint many sets of the menu.

“Since we are a non-halal establishment and our target customers are tourists, the translated menu might not be helpful.

“There are some dishes with names that are hard to translate and they might sound weird, ” he said when met at his shop in Union Street here on Friday.

Salon owner Jeff Ooi, 37, said he just got to know about the ruling recently.

“I learnt that hairdressing salons have to list out our services with a national language translation. I feel that this is not necessary as it will incur a lot of money. Times are bad now and we are struggling to survive. Printing the new list will cost us extra money.

“We have a lot of regular Malay customers and there is no communication problem between us at all, ” said the hairdresser with 14 years of experience.

Meanwhile, Foochow Coffee Shops Owners Federation vice-president Toon Koon Ku said his members are ready to follow the guidelines given by the government to include Bahasa Malaysia translation in their respective menu.

“Most coffee shops have their menu printed on a board, which is hung on the wall.

“Most of us have the menu printed in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese characters.

“Since we have customers from other races, it will be easier for them to read and understand the menu.

“As for our members who do not have a menu in Bahasa Malaysia, we strongly encourage them to include the translation as soon as possible, ” he said when contacted.

Penang Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry director Mohd Ridzuan Ab Ghapar said it is mandatory for hotel, food and beverage, launderette, parking and hairdressing salon business sectors to provide Bahasa Malaysia translation in their description of goods and services.

The ministry stipulates that businesses gazetted under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Rulings (Prescribed Business) must comply with provisions under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Orders (Price Marking for Goods and Charges for Services) 2020.

“The Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Orders 2020 mandates that any trader subject to the above rules must use the national language to provide a description of goods or services as well as price markings and charges in ringgit and sen, so that they are easily seen by consumers.

“Failure to comply is an offence, for which individuals can be fined in court for up to RM50,000 while companies can be fined up to RM100,000, ” he said.

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