Call to ban foreign cooks in Malaysia elicits mixed reactions

A chef cooks chicken rendang at a restaurant in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. The country’s Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran called for foreign cooks to be banned from the country. (Reuters)
Updated 25 June 2018

Call to ban foreign cooks in Malaysia elicits mixed reactions

  • The government has rowed back from Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran’s call saying it was “merely a suggestion,” and it will “consult various stakeholders.”
  • Some 250,000 foreign workers are employed in service industries in Malaysia, including restaurants, hawker stalls and cafes.

KUALA LUMPUR: There are mixed reactions from restaurant and food stall owners across Malaysia to a call by Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran to ban foreign cooks by Jan. 1, 2019.

The government has since changed its tone, on Saturday saying the call was “merely a suggestion,” and it will “consult various stakeholders.”

Some 250,000 foreign workers are employed in service industries in Malaysia, including restaurants, hawker stalls and cafes.

Kulasegaran’s call came amid government attempts to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country.

Adrian Pereira, director of the North South Initiative, a non-profit that promotes the rights of migrant workers in Malaysia, wants the government to engage with all stakeholders to ensure rights-based approaches that are backed by market data.

“We mustn’t forget that there’s a huge informal sector that also hires migrants as cooks,” he said.

“We can’t assign nationality to the work. Once we go down this road, in future work will also discriminate against color, religion etc.”

Suhaila owns a food stall that serves local Malay dishes. She hires only Indonesian cooks, who have been working for her family’s stall for more than a decade.

“They already know how to cook the local dishes, and the food tastes good. There’s no difference,” Suhaila told Arab News, adding that she does not mind employing Malaysians as waiters, but not the cooks as they are her “main source of income.”

She disagrees with Kulasegaran’s call, saying not all local cooks can cook local dishes. She said she once hired a local cook, but the dishes were not as tasty as those made by her Indonesian cooks.

Hamid Khalid, owner of the restaurant Nasi Kandar Arraaziq, agrees with a ban, telling Arab News that he does not hire foreign cooks because customers prefer to eat food made by Malaysians.

But Khalid, whose waiters are mostly foreign, complimented foreign workers for their hard work and low labor cost.

Alex Lee owns the Smokehouse Restaurant, which serves mainly British food. He employs mostly Malaysian cooks, and one foreigner who works as a sous chef.

“From a protectionist and job-security point of view, I think it (a ban) is idiotic,” Lee told Arab News, adding that most food business owners constantly face a shortage of workers.

It is the responsibility of restaurant owners, not the government, to preserve local food’s authenticity, said Lee, cautioning the government against “short-sighted, faux-populist” policies.


Winding your baby – how and why to do it

Winding can also help if your baby has colic. (Shutterstock)
Updated 11 November 2019

Winding your baby – how and why to do it

DUBAI: When you baby feeds little air bubbles are taken into the stomach and they cause discomfort. Your baby may feel full or grizzly. By winding your baby these air bubbles are released and your baby will have more room in its tummy as well as feeling much more comfortable.

Winding can also help if your baby has colic, brings up milk after feeds or has acid reflux. Some babies suffer more form these effects than others and will need burping more often.

Breastfed babies tend to need less winding than those fed from a bottle. This is because bottle feeding tends to cause more air to be swallowed. If you are bottle feeding you may want to try using a special “anti colic” bottle though these don’t work for all babies. In general though, make sure the bottle is the right size and that the hole in the teat is also correct so that milk does not flow too quickly.

Tips for winding

If your baby needs winding they will nearly always appear uncomfortable. If they wriggle or do not want to feed even though they are hungry, they may need winding. After feeding it is a good idea to wind as they may well want to sleep. Winding will help to make them feel well and comfortable.

By 6 months they should no longer need winding and will be able to burp without help if they swallow air.

Keep a towel near as often babies bring up milk along with air. It’s always good to be able to wipe up mess as it happens and this prevents skin rashes and other problems caused by regurgitated milk and food.

Try to keep your baby as upright as possible when feeding, to minimize winding in the first place.

(Shutterstock)

There are a number of methods you can use to wind your baby including:

  • On your chest.
  • Sitting in your lap
  • Face down across your lap

Always support the head and gently pat or rub your baby’s back with the other hand until air is released.

If patting doesn’t work a warm bath may help or a gentle tummy massage.

If the problem persists make sure you seek medical advice. A baby with colic or who isn’t feeding due to wind can go on to have more health complications.

Help from your partner

Winding is an excellent way to involve your partner and can be part of the bonding process. Let him wind baby during feeding so that even if your are breastfeeding he has a chance to hold and care for his baby.

Winding is a necessary part of caring for your baby. Like all aspects of having a baby you will quickly find what works best for you and soon will not even notice you are doing it. A comfortable and loved baby is a happy baby: and a happy baby is one of the most beautiful and precious things you will ever have!

This article was first published on babyarabia.com.