Tourism Ministry urged to explain listing of bak kut teh as national heritage food

KUALA LUMPUR: An Opposition MP has questioned the decision to list bak kut teh as a national heritage dish.

Datuk Rosol Wahid (PN-Hulu Terengganu) said the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry must explain the decision as it could touch on religious sensitivities.

“People are concerned (to see) bak kut teh as part of our national heritage food.

“If we are Taiwan or Hong Kong, it would not be an issue (to list bak kut teh). We have national dishes like burasak and uthappam which do not go against religion,” he said when debating the motion of thanks on the Royal Address in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Feb 28).

On Saturday (Feb 24), commissioner of heritage Mohamad Muda Bahadin listed 10 dishes including bak kut teh, a herbal soup made with pork bones, as national heritage food in a government gazette.

Other dishes included mee kolok and nasi ambeng; traditional desserts like burasak, dodol kukus tahi minyak, kuih lapis, kuih karas; and uthappam, as well as appetisers such as jeruk tuhau and katira, a drink.

They were gazetted as heritage dishes under subsection 49(1) of the National Heritage Act 2005.

Opposition MPs have criticised efforts to list bak kut teh, the origins of which are claimed to be traced to Klang, Selangor.

Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah (PN-Langkawi) claimed that it was not even in the top 30 most popular local dishes.

Last year, Tebrau MP Jimmy Puah proposed that the government list bak kut teh as a national heritage food to defend its position after a documentary claimed that the dish came from a neighbouring country.

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