Foreign cooks ban at proposal stage only, says minister 

Kamles Kumar

Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran clarifies that the prohibition will only apply to Malaysian eateries. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 23, 2018.

HUMAN Resource Minister M Kula Segaran’s announcement on local cooks for restaurants is only a proposal and still requires discussion with stakeholders.

He told The Malaysian Insight no firm decision had been made.

“There is no decision yet. We need to discuss with all the stakeholders,” he said when contacted today.

His announcement that only locals would be allowed to cook in local eateries has been ridiculed on social media and earned him the label of xenophobic.  

Kula Segaran was reported to have said that all restaurants would be required to hire only local cooks from January 1.

“So we want locals to be employed as cooks. There will be no compromise… we are giving you notice to do it by December 31,” he was quoted as saying.

The announcement drew the ire of the Indian Restaurant Operators Association and the Indian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association.

Other restaurant operators have also reacted with shock, saying the ruling will drive up the cost of business and is difficult to comply with due to the locals’ lack of knowledge and experience in some areas, and their demand for higher wages.

Kula Segaran also clarified that the prohibition would cover only local eateries. “You can’t have a French restaurant hiring local guys, it obviously needs to employ people who are well versed in the cuisine.” 

Hawker stalls, Indian-Muslim restaurants and coffee shops are regarded as local outlets and their kitchen workforce should be made up of only Malaysians, the DAP lawmaker said.

“We hope to implement this over time.”

He said the proposal was in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto of reducing dependency on foreign workers.

PH has pledged to reduce six million migrant workers to four million during its first term of office.

Data for 2002 to 2017 from the Home Ministry showed the number of foreign workers in Malaysia had jumped from 1.06 million to 1.8 million, 250,000 of which are working in the service sector, including in restaurants. – June 23, 2018.

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  • "So we want locals to be employed as cooks. There will be no compromise... we are giving you notice to do it by December 31," he was quoted as saying. NO COMPROMISE MEANS NO DECISION MADE.

    Posted 6 years ago by Mohanarajan murugeson · Reply

  • Are there local accredited training culinary courses? Proposal can help reduce rising OBESITY levels among Malaysians..

    Posted 6 years ago by MELVILLE JAYATHISSA · Reply

  • The KLCC Food Court is a glaring example of the blatant employment of foreign cooks and helpers for Malaysian and basic foreign food . At its inception , the KLCC Food Court was to be a owned and operated
    to promote locals. Whilst time is required
    to localize Malaysian food restaurants outlets with Malaysians , the initiative must be firmly adopted.
    Foreign cooks should be welcomed to come and master Malaysian food under a appropriate scheme as a complementary mechanism. Chef Wans concerns should be addressed.

    Posted 6 years ago by Kukananthan Gnanamoorthy · Reply