Acknowledge and Treasure the diversity in Malaysia —— Kelvin Yii

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Media Statement By Kelvin Yii:

We must all acknowledge and treasure the diversity we have in our country including the richness of cultures and heritage even in our food which should unite us instead of dividing us over shallow extreme sentiments.

The recognition of ‘bak kut teh’ and 10 other food items recently including ‘Kolo Mee’ from Sarawak as a National Heritage Food should be a source of pride for all Malaysians as a reflection of our diversity and rich cultures as a pluralistic nation.

Thus the recent attempts by multiple leaders to create discord and division over the recognition of ‘bak kut teh’ because it is perceived as non-halal is shallow without understanding the historical and cultural heritage this dish has in our country.

While more often cooked with pork, but ‘Bak Kut Teh’ directly translates as “Meat Bone Tea” which does not only limited to pork, but all kinds of meat including chicken which commonly known as Chit Kut Teh, beef and mutton and even seafood.

The recognition of the dish should be looked at based on the distinct flavour and characteristics of the dish itself, and history and origin of such dish in our country not whether it is halal or not halal.

This is also true with recognition of ‘Kolo Mee’ from Sarawak which can be prepared in matter different ways, halal or non-halal.

If we allow this to divide us, we will continue lose our competitive edge compared to our neighbouring countries who has been pushing for the acknowledgement of heritage food to promote culture and tourism to the world.

Instead we should be united and proud of each and other heritage and continue to defend our diversity and multiculturalism.