“Isn’t Malaysia a multi-racial country? What’s wrong with BKT being a heritage food?” group asks Akmal

INDIAN Justice Congress Party of Malaysia (KKIM) president Shanmugam Ramaih said UMNO Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh opposing to “bak kut teh” (BKT) being listed as one of the national heritage dish was over the limit.

Malay-language portal Getaran reported Shanmugam as saying there is nothing wrong with the move as the listing of BKT was made alongside nine other dishes and not as a single food listing.

“I don’t see what’s wrong with BKT being listed. After all, the listing of BKT is made together with nine other dishes, not as a single food listing,” he was quoted as saying.

“Isn’t Malaysia a multi-racial nation? It is not a country made up of a single race.”

Previously Akmal was reported to have urged the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to dismiss Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tiong King Sing following several controversial issues recently, including the BKT issue.

Akmal, who is also Melaka State Executive Councillor for Rural Development, Agriculture, and Food Security, had also described Tiong’s action as extremist as it showed a lack of sensitivity towards the majority of the country’s Islamic population.

On this matter, Shanmugam said Akmal’s call for Tiong to be sacked reflected his arrogance.

“Why blame Tiong? Is it him who made the list?” he questioned.

“I don’t understand why this BKT issue is being manipulated into a racial one. It is only listed as a heritage food, not the official food of the country.”

According to Shanmugam, Akmal in his capacity as an assemblyman should stop “stirring a hornet’s nest” by taking part in trivial matters and should instead focus more on addressing the concerns of the people.

“Why squabble over unimportant things? The people are suffering because of the increase in the price of goods, the rise in the cost of living. Don’t those pressing matters need to be dealt with urgently?” he asked.

“The world will notice that leaders in Malaysia are only busy arguing about such petty things, like the BKT issue while there are other much more important matters left unattended.”

In a Facebook posting on Thursday (Feb 29), Akmal said Tiong could have instead recognised Chinese fried rice and other foods that can be eaten by everyone in this country regardless of race or religion.

“If the minister cannot be sensitive to Malaysians, then what is the relevance of this decision? It is time for (Anwar) to sack him,” Akmal had said.

Other foods listed include mee kolok and nasi ambeng, besides traditional desserts like burasak, dodol kukus tahi minyak, kuih lapis, kuih karas and uthappam.

Some others included an appetiser called jeruk tuhau and the air katira drink.

In response to this, Tiong, who is also the Bintulu MP had cautioned Akmal against adopting an oppositional or extremist stance.

“Regarding bak kut teh, ‘bak’ refers to meat. I have emphasised several times that the herbs used are halal. The type of meat used can vary,” he said in a Facebook post on the same day.

“You can add chicken, and then it becomes ‘chicken kut teh’. If you add seafood, it becomes ‘seafood kut the’. If you add lamb, it becomes ‘lamb kut teh’.

“Dr Akmal often mentions ‘pork bak kut teh’. However, ‘bak’ refers to meat in general, not just pork. I suggest Dr Akmal refer to a dictionary if unsure of its definition.” – March 1, 2024


Main pic credit: Utusan Malaysia

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