View listing of bak kut teh as heritage dish with an open mind, urges PBS leader

Bak kut teh has been in the news a lot since it was named a Malaysian heritage food. — Filepic

KOTA KINABALU: The decision by the Heritage Commissioner to list bak kut teh as one of 10 national heritage foods should be viewed with an open mind, says a Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) leader.

Yee Tsai Yiew, who is PBS Api-Api division information chief, said viewing this with an open mind was to respect cultural traditions of all communities and important for social harmony.

"Our country is multi-racial. Respecting the cultural traditions of all ethnic groups is an important cornerstone of maintaining social harmony and a reflection of the harmonious development of multi-cultural Malaysia," said the Special Assistant to the Chief Minister.

She said the listing reflects the government's respect for Chinese culture and its support for multi-culturalism.

"This shows the practice of an inclusive government, a government for all Malaysians," stressed Yee.

She pointed out that bak kut teh was one of the representative delicacies of the Malaysian Chinese and has a long history and profound cultural heritage.

"It is also a cultural symbol, representing the blending and fusion of Malaysia's diverse cultures," she said.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing had announced on Feb 23, that bak kut teh would be officially listed as one of Malaysia's national heritage dishes.

The declaration stirred controversy among some politicians that disagreed with the listing.

She also pointed out that the word "bak" means "meat" and bak kut teh does not necessarily mean it is solely a pork dish and could also be made out of chicken or fish.

"Before deciding that bak kut teh as part of the national cultural heritage, he (Tiong) would have made a thorough evaluation and solicited opinions from all parties," she said.

She said in Sabah, bak kut teh was a delicacy of the Chinese community and loved by people of all ethnic groups.

"I believe that listing bak kut teh as a national heritage dish will further boost the development of the state's tourism industry, especially among Chinese tourists," Yee added.

On Feb 24, Heritage Commissioner Mohamad Muda Bahadin listed 10 dishes as national heritage foods in a government gazette which included bak kut teh, a meat-based herbal soup dish.

Other dishes were 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.

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

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Bak Kut Teh , PBS , Sabah , Heritage Dish


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