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KJ Faces Immediate Backlash For Asking If Mamak Hours Should No Longer Be 24 Hours

KJ Faces Immediate Backlash For Asking If Mamak Hours Should No Longer Be 24 Hours

The rakyat went on defence mode when Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin asked if mamak operating hours should be limited.

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Malaysia is one of the countries that are tops in terms of obesity and heart diseases.

In a bid to improve every Malaysian’s health, the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) is launched today.

During the launch of the agenda on TV1’s Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that Malaysia is not a healthy country.

“In Malaysia one in every two people are obese, including myself, while one in four don’t practise physical activity and only one in 20, maintain healthy eating.

“According to official statistics, half a million adults suffer from depression. I am confident that this is lower than the actual figure,” Khairy said.

As such, Khairy said Malaysians need to make a behavioral change voluntarily and increase awareness to get health checks without having to rely on the Health Ministry or the government.

READ MORE: Malaysia Is Not Healthy, We Have High Rates Of Obesity And Heart Disease, Says KJ

On Twitter, Khairy wasted no time and posed the question: Should the nation’s favourite hangout, the mamak stalls, be open 24/7 or be limited to a time frame?

Netizens on Twitter went on the defensive to defend their precious mamak stalls.

“Why target mamak shops? They also want to live [make a living]. Target groups with circadian disruption which caused them to gain weight and need late night snacks first. If you close mamak, they’ll make Maggi. Please give us sunrise at 6am again. Don’t follow Borneo, this causes circadian disruption,” a Twitter user wrote.

“There are healthy options to choose at mamak too. The idea is to have enough idea on what are healthy meal options to run a daily life. The problem with Malaysia is that unhealthy foods are cheap but healthy ones are expensive, stirs away the crowd for options,” another person responded to Khairy’s tweet.

“24 hours is the way to go. Less crowd as well,” a netizen wrote.

A few Twitter users pointed out that other 24-hour restaurants should be included too.

“It should be ’24 Hours Restaurants’ not just kedai mamak if you want an Agenda Sihat survey. Mcdonald’s isn’t healthy either,” a netizen tweeted.

“Why the decision to single out mamak? If it’s for healthy justifications, other F&B joints (fast foods, 7/11, burger stalls) are complicit too, no? If you’re serious about combating unhealthiness, for whatever political mileage, why target only mamak?” another person wrote.

Another netizen also highlighted that limiting the opening hours will affect mamak employees and employees who work at odd hours.

“You may be punishing the workers who work odd hours like call center staffs, front liners.. Etc etc.. Mamak, although unhealthy, provides a places to eat and destress for an hour for those chaps.. Please reconsider, chief,” the netizen wrote.

“Restaurants should always be allowed to open 24 hours. Some of us don’t have the time and luxury to cook something up at home whenever we want to,” another netizen echoed similar sentiments.

Netizens suggest healthier alternatives

Based on the responses so far, it looks like the Health Ministry need to reconsider their plans.

Maybe the Ministry should listen to netizens who put forward a few acceptable and workable options.

“Can we also consider improving the infrastructure like walkways and bicycle lanes so people can opt to walk rather than drive all the time. Make health choices part of people’s everyday life. So there’s no need to only exercise on the weekends at a park when you have the time,” they wrote.

“Instead of thinking about mamak operation hours, why don’t [the Ministry] think about a more attractive recreational place or a gym facility,” a Twitter user wrote.

“Make doing cheap outdoor activities accessible to all! Right now it’s so difficult for people to go hiking at the outer edge of Selangor. All the trails are there but no public transport, and the trails aren’t marked. Heck, even to get to Broga Hill and back is a pain!” a netizen tweeted.

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