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Rats, pests and restaurants in Malaysia

Hawkers have to cope with the higher prices of ingredients

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The authorities and health inspectors must step up to the plate and ensure that high standards of hygiene are maintained in all restaurants, says JD Lovrenciear.

The authorities’ closures of several restaurants in Penang in recent months should send a signal to all Malaysians – health inspectors, customers and business operators alike.

The rats and rodent infestation found in certain restaurants is not a rare find.

Unfortunately those in the food and restaurant business largely do well in the dolling up of their outlets while the awareness and compliance of health and hygiene remain lacking.

Unfortunately too customers are still far off from becoming discerning first-world consumers, many of whom will simply boycott dirty premises without hesitation.

Hence the efficiency of health inspectors who put public health and safety well above the temptations that accompany the tutup-satu-mata (close-one-eye) practice are the best bet in ensuring that food preparation, handling and storage adhere to strict standards.

While business operators may be quick to cry over the loss of business or all too quickly seek refuge behind excuses like “we are sorry for the oversight”, as citizens we must know our ethical business rights and responsibilities.

If you want to make money from your good food and secret recipes, you must comply with established standards.

Whether it is hygiene, health or safety – the restaurant business is more than simply selling and making money from tasty food. There is a moral responsibility to ensure that what customers eat is always safe, clean and healthy.

Hopefully other municipal and town planning councils and health inspectors will step up to the plate and ensure that good hygiene and health standards are observed at restaurants, given that threat of rat and pest infestation is never far.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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23 Jul 2019 12.34am

Thinking further about it, I did not read or hear about such unsanitary issues at eateries back in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and I wonder whether it was because such eateries, run by their proprietors and staffed by Malaysian workers, were more sanitary back then or are health inspectors more efficient today and some Malaysians more willing to come forward and complain.

I also believe that the proliferation of 24 x 7 eateries since the late 1990s, understaffed by underpaid and overworked foreign workers, also some with often absent proprietors, whose presence is divided between multiple eatery branches or multiple food stalls – has exacerbated this problem of unsanitary conditions and degraded quality of service today.

20 Jul 2019 2.01pm

On the other hand, Americans are turning away from KFC because of average quality of service compared to others, poor sanitation, food quality and so forth.

“What Happened To Kentucky Fried Chicken?”

The bottom line is that Malaysians generally have low expectations and low standards, and will gladly eat curried excreta off plates washed in toilet bowl water, as long as it tastes nice.

So how can we expect restaurant owners, product manufacturers and media publishers to provide quality products, content and services, when most Malaysians are unwilling to pay a little bit more for decent service quality and better sanitation.

20 Jul 2019 12.37pm

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