Banning 24-hour eateries won't help obesity but will hurt economy, says Primas

PETALING JAYA: Banning 24-hour eateries would only hurt Malaysia's economy and tourism instead of addressing the issue of obesity, says the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners' Association (Primas).

Its president Govindasamy Jayabalan said the recent call by a consumer group to ban 24-hour eateries to combat obesity would only hurt both tourists and late shift workers' ability to find food.

"They failed to understand that multicultural food is one of the attractions for tourists to flock to Malaysia and their arrival helps boost the country’s economy.

"Likewise, there are many factories operating 24-hour shifts and these people need to go to the 24-hour food outlets for their food," he said in a statement on Thursday (April 25).

He also stressed that the restaurant industry was not a "standalone" industry and many others rely on restaurants to survive such as meat, seafood and produce suppliers and others.

"Any disruption to restaurant operations will also affect these... micro, small and medium industries," he added.

ALSO READ: Ministry: Proposal to ban 24-hour eateries hard to swallow without proof

He urged the consumer group to work with the government to tackle the root causes of obesity in the country instead of targeting 24-hour eateries as a scapegoat.

"The intake of food is an independent choice of Malaysians and tourists in general.

"(The consumer group) should play a more proactive role in working hand-in-hand with the Health Ministry to educate the people about reducing weight and embracing a healthy lifestyle.

"They should not think of getting cheap publicity by using 24-hour food outlets as a target to make their stand.

"Malaysians should be able to make their own smart choices," he said.

Govindasamy added that Primas was willing to work with consumer groups in finding ways to provide healthy and nutritious food and its members would gladly participate in any food campaigns to provide a healthy menu for the people.

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Ban , 24-hour Eateries , Primas , Obesity , Economy , Scapegoat


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