MALAYSIAN ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST ASK – IS IT SAFE – EATING OUT IN MALAYSIA?

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IS IT SAFE – EATING OUT IN MALAYSIA?

Are we facing an outbreak of Typhoid in several parts of Malaysia?

I ask this question, as I am flooded with calls from several quarters on this!

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I expect those whose shoulders the benchmark and safety of Malaysian healthcare rest will get off their backsides and facebook, and do something hands on fast, if indeed, we have such incidents!

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What is alleged to be happening is shocking under the watch of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia – there are hospitals on fire, wiring and other essentials suspect, roofs collapsing, ambulance units inadequate, shortage of drugs, the world class and tertiary liver transplant unit in Selayang, for example, that was set up by a dedicated and passionate individual, funded by a financial institution, is seriously under threat of closure, there are allegations of shortage of funds for drugs, and procedures, we hear of double standards in the rehiring on contract our experts/specialists where those from one race and religion getting their appointment within a month of retirement, while others very qualified seeing none, and leaving to join the private sector?

A disservice to the Premier’s 1Malaysia policy!

Coming back to the liver unit, it is more embarrassing internationally, as the medical team who came all the way to understudy the unit at Selayang hospital have decided to set up in 36 districts liver transplant centers!

And the announcement came from none other but by Punjab Chief Minister, Shehbaz Sharif!

And the manner the unit in Selayang, is limping on before perhaps dying a natural death is shocking and embarrassing to say the least!

But some people have no shame!

It is not their life’s work is it?

They have moved up the chain of command not on merit?

As an political insider, this is unacceptable and as an insider I will brief the Premier on his return from India!

But now, let us go back to the issue at hand!

Is it safe to eat out in Malaysia?

And is the time right to initiate a national crackdown of dirty eateries and food handlers across the nation?

In 2010, I rewrote this article from another I had written in 1997!
Has there been any change since?

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‘TIME FOR A FOOD HANDLERS ACT IN MALAYSIA!

Yes, I sound like John the Baptist – a voice crying in the wilderness urging, appealing and screaming for a comprehensive Food Handlers Act in Malaysia!

The reasons are aplenty from the ineffectiveness of the Food Act 1985 which is outdated, to the sorry, corrupt and ineffectiveness of our enforcement and total invasion of this sector by foreigners from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Africa, Middle East and West Asian countries to our own Malaysians!

With the reemergence of many once eradicated diseases, we need to question and seek answers to the present problems brought about by apathy, incompetence, corruption and sheer lack of political and professional will!

So if my appeal for a Food Handlers Act is favorable –
What do they cover?

The Regulations apply to all types of food and drink and their ingredients.

But some businesses – generally manufacturers of products of animal origin, such as dairies or wholesale fish markets – follow their own product specific regulations. These regulations are listed
Identifying and controlling food hazards

As the proprietor of a food business, you are expected to:
make sure food is supplied or sold in a hygienic way;
identify food safety hazards; know which steps in your activities are critical for food safety;
ensure safety controls are in place, maintained and reviewed.
Controls do not have to be complex. There are systems that can be used by food businesses to ensure that hazards are identified and controls are in place.

For example – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is one of a number of such systems.

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The Regulations aim to set out basic hygiene principles, which are generally not new.

But their emphasis is different from previous regulations.

They focus more strongly on how to identify and control food safety risks at each stage of the process of preparing and selling food.

Rather than simply following a list of rules, the Regulations let you assess the risk to food safety and then apply controls relevant to your own situation.

This will work provided you are accountable and ethical!

But in all fairness – not all the requirements for the structure and equipment of food premises will apply to you.

Some are followed by the words where appropriate? or where necessary.

For example, one provision states that, where appropriate floors must allow surface drainage.

But where you have a system to ensure water does not build up, so that there is no risk to food safety, actual floor drains may not be necessary.

So there is no absolute requirement to have them.

Basic requirements for food businesses

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Food premises should: (and where *Malaysian food outlets fail!)
be clean and maintained in good repair; be designed and constructed to permit good hygiene practices; have an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water; have suitable controls in place to protect against pests; have adequate natural and/or artificial lighting;
have sufficient natural and/or mechanical ventilation;
provide clean lavatories which do not lead directly into food rooms; have adequate hand washing facilities; be provided with adequate drainage.

Rooms where food is prepared, treated or processed should generally have surface finishes which are easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect.

This would, for instance, apply to wall, floor and equipment finishes.

The rooms should also have:

adequate facilities for washing food and equipment; adequate facilities for the storage and removal of food waste.

Of course, many of the Regulations are basic minimum hygiene standards which apply to every food business.

But how they are applied still depends on the situation.

For example, every food premises must be kept clean.

But how they are cleaned, and how often, will be different for a manufacturer of ready-to-eat meals than for a bakery selling bread or even fast food outlets!

Supplies of raw materials

Do not buy or supply any raw materials if you think that even after sorting or processing they could make food unfit for human consumption.

Any material which you suspect or know to be infected or contaminated with parasites or foreign substances to this extent should be rejected.

Quality of Water in food

There must be an adequate supply of potable (drinking) water, to be used whenever necessary to ensure food is not contaminated.
In the vast majority of cases, this is supplied via the public water supply.

But if there is any doubt about the quality of a water supply, you should seek advice from your local council Environmental Health Services.

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Personal hygiene for food handlers

Anyone who works in a food handling area must maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness.

And the way in which they work must also be clean and hygienic.

Food handlers must wear clean and, where appropriate, protective over-clothes. Anyone whose work involves handling food should/must:
observe good personal hygiene;
routinely wash their hands when handling food;
never smoke in food handling areas; report any illness (like infected wounds, skin infections, diarrhea or vomiting) to their manager or supervisor immediately.

If any employee reports that they are suffering from any such illness, the business may have to exclude them from food handling areas.
Such action should be taken urgently.

If you have any doubt about the need to exclude, you should seek urgent medical advice!

Employers must not send them to work fully knowing that they are ill as many do today!

Preventing food contamination

Food handlers must protect food and ingredients against contamination which is likely to render them unfit for human consumption or a health hazard.

For example, uncooked poultry should not contaminate ready-to-eat foods, either through direct contact or through work surfaces or equipment.

Training and supervising food handlers

Food handlers must receive adequate supervision, instruction and/or training in food hygiene.

Each food business must decide what training or supervision their food handlers need by identifying the areas of their work most likely to affect food hygiene.

Many of the guidelines in this guidance apply equally to food businesses trading from temporary or occasional locations like those under the tree, stalls, by hawkers, entrenched sites, canteens and so forth.

But because not all of them will be practical, there are also some slightly different requirements.

However, wherever food is sold, two basic rules always apply:
there should be adequate facilities to prepare and serve food safely; and food handling procedures should avoid exposing food to risk of any contamination.

Even some fast food and high end outlets are guilty of this from consumer feedbacks and our observations.

I have repeatedly asked those operating under such licenses to read again the conditions of their franchise from the mother company in the United States, the UK, and Spain, Germany or the cold terrains of the North Pole!

Let us say – No, to any more food poisoning incidences or worst the continued increase of diseases we had at one time eradicated!

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CHARMING ROSMAH DOES MORE THAN ALL OF YOU PUT TOGETHER: CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE HITS BACK AT DETRACTORS!

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‘We always say, children are the best judges and as such, I asked my nephew who sings in the PERMATA choir what he thought of her?

Inexplicably, he echoed what I used to say to my family members for years, “she is loving, caring and so protective of all who are under her watch” – the ingredients that makes a good caring and loving mother!’

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CHARMING ROSMAH DOES MORE THAN ALL OF YOU PUT TOGETHER: CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE HITS BACK AT DETRACTORS!

There is certainly a limit to abuse!

There is also a limit to malicious defamation and intimidation of a person!

And to remain silent without coming to her defense when such injustice continues is also unforgivable!

A day does not pass without some comment, pictures or statements that go viral without reference to her!

Her dress, her watches, her slippers, her trips, her purchases, the countries she visits and most importantly, the who’s who she meets and interacts with on pertinent issues she is passionate about in human rights, child development, holistic development and empowerment is all under the microscope of super busy bodies, who do not lift a finger to assist!

And why is this so?

Is it plain unadulterated envy or jealousy, that this individual is succeeding driven by passion to make a difference in the world we live in, addressing issues close to her heart?

But, for an academic review, who is Rosmah Mansor?

She was born in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia on December 10th 1951.

And she was a daughter to educators, which explains her deep rooted passion and dedication about education, empowerment and children!

And she had her secondary schooling at the Tunku Kurshiah College, a prestigious boarding school for bright Malay girls in Malaysia.

Today, she is the wife to Malaysian premier Mohd Najib bin Tun Hj Abd Razak.

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And she has balanced her married life and children, by providing the family a home and family life and as much care and attention as possible, which is a challenge in today’s political environment!

To dear friend, the premier she is instrumental in supplying pivotal support to him as a wife and his position and leadership of Malaysia.

We are all aware how in many crisis situations she was there and during at least two crisis situations, if my memory serves me right, she intervened and was instrumental in releasing a student detained in Egypt; and during Malaysia’s Operation Pyramid in Saudi Arabia, the government had requested to get out Malaysian students without visa.

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In this incidence, she used her diplomatic connections and got the students out with the Saudi government offering two jumbo jets to help us extract the students.

Both, no ordinary feat!

The logistics, planning, assets to be used transnational was a feat in itself!

But despite all the good that has come, what is saddening is the manner these defamatory spins and stories are going viral!

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Let us not forget that Rosmah Mansor, is an individual who comes to the table with more than the required academic qualifications and experience needed!

She is no personal non grata!

Are her detractors aware that after  completing her tertiary and higher education at University Malaya and Louisiana State University in 1974 and 1978 respectively, Rosmah Mansor returned to launch her corporate career, putting to good use her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology and her Master’s degree in Sociology and Agriculture Extension.

She served at Agriculture Bank Malaysia until 1983, and then took on the position of Business Development Manager at Island and Peninsular Berhad where she served until 1987.

Fast forward to 2017 – as the wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, she  wears many hats.

She is the President of the Welfare Association of Minister’s Wives (BAKTI).

She holds the position of Patron for various associations, among others are Children in Hope Foundation, Malaysian Nature Society, Society of the Orthopedically Handicapped Malaysia, Malaysia Aids Council, National Heart Institute Foundation, Thalassemia Association, National Athletes’ Welfare Association, the Foundation for the Development of Underprivileged Children and many more.

She is also on the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) as their patron, as well as the President of the Girl Guides Association of Malaysia.

All these take great leadership skills, dedication and passion which she obviously has.

Let us not forget that international moment of glory to the nation, June 2014, when she hosted the 2014 Global Summit of Women which showcased Malaysia’s traditional and unique textiles.

In her speech, if you remember, she hoped the effort would be well received and appreciated, especially by the French fashion houses and expressed her delight at showcasing unique Malaysian styles and heritage in fashion at Paris.

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But the greatest of all her passion, as I see it, lies with her undivided love for children!

Yes, she strongly believes that human capital development begins with children and it is an important investment for the nation.

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More so as this will lay a firm foundation for national growth, productivity, social cohesion and peace in what is a multiracial, religious Malaysia!

Watching from the sidelines, I cannot but be so pleased to see her drive and initiatives in this venture through PERMATA programmes starting with nationwide establishment of early childhood education and care centers or Permata Negara that focuses on children below 5 years.

For yet again, to her shallow minded and blind detractors, let me remind you that through this initiative to date more than 650 Permata Negara Centers have been set up throughout the country.

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This programme has since been widened to the intellectually gifted children under the banner of PERMATA Pintar, aimed at providing appropriate enriched learning environment to challenge them to the fullest potential.

Today, this initiative offers two approaches, the annual school camp for children aged 9-15 and a school for gifted children aged 16-17 at the National University of Malaysia (UKM).

As for PERMATA Seni, the objective is to further refine the talents of children in performing arts through music, choir and dance.

Whilst for PERMATA Insan, the gifted children are provided with an early exposure to the understanding of a-Quran and as-Sunnah in order to groom them to be future Islamic intellectuals.

Even the nation’s youth are not left out!

She has for them initiated the Perkasa Remaja via camp intervention and community based programmes.

These two programmes are aimed at empowering youth to be into the mainstream development.

As a means to reach out to the youth, especially those at risk she initiated the Perkasa Remaja via camp intervention and community based programmes.

These two programmes are aimed at empowering youth to be into the mainstream development which is what is needed in today’s challenging environment!

Is that all?

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Nothing can keep Rosmah down as she now embarks on two new projects, the PEMATA Kurnia, a programme for children with autism and Children Specialist Hospital, which I had also pushed for with the then Director General of Health Malaysia, Dr Ismail Merican.

Today, I am advised that both projects are in the process of implementation.

Incidentally, she while driving all of the above, has also kept a sharp eye out for the rights and interests of empowering women!

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She has embarked on advancing women related issues, such as empowerment of women, gender equality and uplifting the economic status of women.

And she has addressed these issues as a keynote speaker at conferences both locally and internationally.

And in recognition of her vast contribution she has been conferred various high awards and recognition nationally and internationally!

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We always say, children are the best judges and as such, I asked my nephew who sings in the PERMATA choir what he thought of her?

Inexplicably, he echoed what I used to say to my family members for years, “she is loving, caring and so protective of all who are under her watch” – the ingredients that makes a good caring and loving mother!

So can we look at the bigger picture and make a holistic contribution to the nation instead of indulging in treachery against a person who is contributing so much to the nation!

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STOP TALKING – CUT DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH NORTH KOREA!

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STOP TALKING – CUT DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH NORTH KOREA!

After all the diplomatic rows and vulgarities, which goes against diplomacy – we are still issuing warnings to North Korea!

Seriously?

Very interesting development for some, while others may think, it is rather silly and stupid!

North Korea is a rogue state and fearing no one!

So the question that is rather disturbing is, are they carrying out clandestine security operations in Malaysia, in order to exterminate their dissidents and doing business under the UN radar?

Yes?

While they are at it – why not also indulge in a few kilograms of espionage and setting up companies with some locals, who are actually idiots/morons of the first degree, to avoid the stringent UN sanctions imposed on them, it certainly points that we failed as a intelligent community!

Why do I say that?

North Korea is a rogue state, so, our security services should have operationally, from day one, kept them under constant surveillance, including its embassy personnel.

And while at it – who gave them that visa waiver?

It was a passport certainly, for its operatives and assassins to infiltrate our country easily for various nefarious missions and espionage purposes on the South Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and US interests here.

However, the multi billion question is why are we still not breaking off diplomatic ties with Pyongyang?

There lies the mystery!

Now there are rumors that we will also waiver the visa for Pakistan?

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Despite the presence of assets there, who can threaten the multi racial and religious fabric of Malaysia?

No?