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“Not everyone can eat pork” – PAS ADUN Questions Bak Kut Teh’s Recognition as National Heritage Food


Feat Image Bak Kut Teh
Source: Malay Mail & Asian Inspirations

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Last year, a discourse on whether Bak Kut Teh or pork bone broth should be recognised as a Malaysian national heritage dish engulfed the entire nation following the proposal for doing so by Tebrau Member of Parliament (MP) Jimmy Puah.

During the Dewan Rakyat session in June 2023, Puah urged the government to recognise the dish as a national heritage food so that other countries such as Singapore can’t “claim” it as theirs.

Tebrau Mp June 6 2023 1024X576 1

Tebrau mp, jimmy puah

The suggestion was then opposed by Langkawi MP Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Abdullah both in Parliament and outside. In fact, he even said that his coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN) would set up a special committee to vehemently oppose making Bak Kut Teh a Malaysian heritage dish.

Langkawi Mp

Langkawi mp, datuk suhaimi mohd abdullah


Bak Kut Teh and 9 other foods were recently gazetted as national heritage dish

Well, it looks like the special committee, if there was ever one, failed in its goal as Bak Kut Teh, alongside 9 other dishes was recently gazetted as heritage food by the Malaysian Government. 


For illustration purposes

The other newly-crowned national heritage dishes include Burasak, Mi Kolok, Nasi Ambeng, Dodol Kukus Tahi Minyak, Kuih Lapis, Kuih Karas, Uthappam, Jeruk Tuhau and Air Katira.


Perak Opposition Leader questions the recognition 

Image 75

Gunung semanggol assmeblyperson, razman zakaria

While the majority of Malaysians were very receptive to the pork bone broth being recognised as a national heritage dish, some felt that Bak Kut Teh shouldn’t be given such recognition. 

The most notable of which is the Perak Assemblyperson for Gunung Semanggol, Razman Zakaria. 

Taking to his official X (formerly Twitter) account, Razman, who is also the Perak State Legislative Assembly’s (DUN) Opposition Leader, said that he was perplexed as to how Bak Kut Teh could be recognised as a national heritage dish given that not everyone in Malaysia can actually eat it because of the pork ingredient.

Bak Kut Teh @ Teluk Pulai Clay Pot Bak Kut Teh Restaurant 2

For illustration purposes

The PAS ADUN asserted,

“Pork bone herbal broth was recently recognised as a Malaysian heritage food. Very weird because Bak Kut Teh (its different name) can’t be eaten by all layers of society. It can only be eaten by only some Malaysians.”

“It would be better if the national heritage food be given to the food of the majority citizens of our country.”

Screenshot 2024 02 29 At 10.02.52 Am

Screenshot 2024 02 29 At 10.03.17 Am


Even PAS previously promoted Bak Kut Teh by introducing a Halal-version

This X post then received a lot of replies from Malaysians who called out Razman for questioning the gazetting of Bak Kut Teh as a national dish. 

One commenter said that there was nothing weird about the decision as Malaysia is a multiracial and multicultural country, with various religions living in harmony.

Screenshot 2024 02 29 At 10.04.28 Am

Meanwhile, another commenter echoed the same sentiment, telling Razman that Malaysians are multiracial and that over 200 food and beverages that have been recognised as national heritage dishes. These include Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sabahan and Sarawakian foods.

Hence, the commenter urged the Gunung Semanggol ADUN to do better and not make this an issue for political mileage.

Screenshot 2024 02 29 At 10.03.59 Am

Besides that, several commenters also pointed out Razman’s political party PAS had previously also introduced a Halal-version of Bak Kut Teh to promote national unity, something that Razman is doing the complete opposite of.

So, what do you guys think of the whole situation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Also read: Here Are 10 Foods That Were Just Newly-Gazetted as Heritage Foods in Malaysia

Heritage Foods

Source: CodeBlue/RTM
Source: Astro Awani
Source: Malay Mail

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