Published on Friday, September 18, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR - Laksa, nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice and chilli crab are all Malaysian dishes, Malaysiaâ€™s tourism minister, Dr Ng Yen Yen, has declared.
In a report in the Malaysian Insider Dr Ng accused other countries of â€œhijackingâ€ local dishes such as laksa and nasi lemak, and said it was high time that Malaysia claimed them as Malaysian.
â€œWe cannot continue to let other countries hijack our food,â€ she said, without naming the countries, although her ire is almost certainly aimed at Singapore and Indonesia.
â€œChilli crab is Malaysian. Hainanese chicken rice is Malaysian. We have to lay claim to our food,â€ the minister said after she launched the Malaysia International Gourmet Festival.
Dr Ng said that her ministry was identifying the popular dishes, which are also available in neighbouring countries, and would declare them as Malaysian in the next three months.
The tourism minister's announcement came as Malaysia and Indonesia were working hard to resolve a dispute alleging that Malaysia â€œstoleâ€ Indonesian culture such as batik and claimed it as its own.
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