Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dance instructor will miss the tosai at rest stop

IPOH: Roti canai and tosai lover Michael Yeap makes it a point to stop at the Ulu Bernam rest area near Tanjung Malim for breakfast when driving to Kuala Lumpur.

However, his 15-year love affair may have to end after Dec 31 because the stall that serves the Indian delight has failed to obtain a permit to continue operating at the rest area.

The 60-year-old dance instructor said he would time his travel so that he would either catch breakfast or lunch at the Indian stall at the rest area.

“I have been doing that for the past 15 years. I love the food there,” he said yesterday.

“But during my last visit, the operator told me his permit for the stall has been terminated,” Yeap said, adding that the stall was the only one run by an Indian there.

He said he or other travellers would be unable to find non-Malay food along the expressway if the permit were to be terminated.

Yeap’s plight came to light after Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran called for a press conference to lament about the lack of non-Malay food served along the expressway.

Kulasegaran said there were only a handful of stalls that served non-Malay food in the Tapah and Ulu Bernam rest areas.

“Many Malaysians use the expressway and it is a problem to those looking for vegetarian or non-Malay food,” he said.

Kulasegaran said he was not against the number of Malay food stalls at the rest areas but he was hoping that PLUS would allot more stalls for non-Malays.

He said he had written to PLUS, the Malaysian Highway Authority and the Works Minister to look into the matter.

When contacted, PLUS senior public relations manager Khalilah Mohd Talha said PLUS would introduce a fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian foods that appealed to the masses next year.

“We are re-looking at our rest and recreational areas along the North-South Expressway. We are introducing more varieties in terms of menu to appeal to travellers from different ethnic and cultural background.”

She said PLUS had never practised discrimination against the multi-racial stall operators, but over the years, operators requested to serve titbits and more Malay-based food based on demand for those kind of food.

“We do invite multi-racial stall operators. The response is another story.”

She said licences were only terminated if the operators did not comply with the Health Ministry’s guidelines on food preparation, cleanliness of premises or hygiene discipline, did not pay rental or had customer complaints.

“But this is after several warnings are issued.”

seals: ever since I start to travel on PLUS highway I always had problem getting Indian food specially me being a vegetarian. It has been since then, when I asked why they don't sell food, the common answer among the very few Indian outlet operators at PLUS R&R said was "we are not allowed to sell food".

But recently they start to sell curry puffs and so on. But, I have to survive on these food when I travel on PLUS. Why not let 1 or 2 shops to sell full Indian food?

Is the Malay food so bad that they need to protect the operators so badly, that the consumers are indirectly forced to buy the Malay food? Or PLUS don't trust itself that MALAY food is good enough to compete with others?

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