While browsing around for dinner at 1 Utama Shopping mall with my husband last night, I discovered how the mall has changed so much since our matriculation days. I also noticed that just like other revamped and new budding malls in Klang Valley, non-halal eateries are mushrooming. Halal signs are rarely to be found posted. Whereas the operators are mostly foreigners which made me wonder if the food is consumable for Muslims. There are even more restaurants serving pork. The scenario was similiar to the malls in Orchard Road, Singapore.
Of course, we do understand it is a well known delicacy of our Chinese friends. Well, at least I do because my aunts and uncles are non-muslims too. My question is; Has the shopping mall management ever considered of segregating halal & non-halal eateries just like they do in supermarkets? Secondly, has JAKIM been inspecting all the food eateries at the shopping malls where Muslims are also its loyal patrons?
During the early 2000s, there was a rise of the Arabian delicacy in Malaysia. A lot of Arabs and even locals ventured into setting up middle eastern restaurants in town and areas where Arabs reside. Previously, mamak restaurants or stalls were the mammoths. People would lepak till the wee hours of the morning for roti canai and teh tarik. Now we can see popular China, Hong Kong and Taiwanese brands usurping the malls in Malaysia.
The food trends in Malaysia to some extent is influenced by the migration pattern and tourism market in Malaysia. It could be that the current change of trend from Middle Eastern to Oriental delicacy is caused by the impact of the Arab Spring and the rise of China. Who knows what could be next in the future?
No matter whatever type of food will ever colonize the Malaysian F&B industry, JAKIM and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs MUST keep a close eye on the purity of products that are brought into this country and the way they are served to the consumers. Remember, the needs of the Muslims are equally important as the rest. Capitalism must not be allowed to compromise the demands of religion and humanity.