On June 21 (Thurs), Malaysia's human resources minister M. Kulasegaran, said that he wants all restaurants in the country to only recruit locals as cooks from July 1 as reported by Bernama. All operators would be given up to the end of the year to ensure only local cooks work in their restaurants but the regulation to only permit locals as cooks in all restaurants to be effective on January 1 2019.
He added that the move would be able to reduce dependence of local restaurants on foreign labour because they want "locals to be employed as cooks."
He said the ministry would follow the footstep of the Penang state government in banning foreigners as cooks in food shops, restaurants as well as stalls. The Penang state government has prohibited foreigners to work as cooks at hawker stalls since 2014.
Following this, on June 23 (Sat), he clarified that his statement telling restaurant operators to employ only local cooks starting next year was merely a suggestion, as reported by The Star Online. He explained that the call for restaurants to hire local cooks was "just a suggestion" and a date was given as there needs to be a cut off period.
Kulasegaran wants to be reasonable with the implementation and made it clear that the local cooks requirement is only applicable to "ordinary local food" outlets and does not apply to foreign food restaurants, high-end restaurants and five-star hotels which require specialised cooks.
"We just want it to be properly regulated, and have the same laws applied to all states. We want to be consistent," he said.
Kulasegaran added the state Kuala Lumpur already has existing by-laws that hawkers must be Malaysian.
However, Melaka has warmed up to the idea, announcing that they are considering to hire only local cooks. The Malaymail reported that Chief Minister Adly Zahari will take into account M. Kulasegaran's recommendation for restaurant operators in the country to hire only local cooks from July 1. Zahari comments on how the suggestion should be viewed positively as it could assist in curbing the monopoly of outsiders or foreigners in the food business sector.
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