When I first read about the plight of the Indonesian woman who had to go to jail for operating an unlicensed business in a two-room rental flat ("She had a curry puff 'factory'", The New Paper, June 1), I was rather upset with the authorities for coming down so hard on someone who was trying to make a living and support her two young children.
But after reading about the investigations by the National Environment Agency (NEA) into the activities of Robiah Lia Caniago ("Curry puffs prepared in unhygienic conditions", TNP, June 4) I fervently believe that the authorities did the right thing by taking her to task.
Consumers need to be protected from food poisoning and other health problems that can be caused by food prepared in poor conditions. Recycled oil used for long periods can also make people ill.
NEA has been doing an excellent job by ensuring that hawker centres prepare food in healthy conditions and its grading system helps consumers make informed choices in deciding where to eat.
Operating an illegal food business is also not fair to stallholders who pay for a valid licence. There are proper procedures to apply for a licence to sell cooked food and Madam Robiah could have approached her Member of Parliament for assistance.
While we welcome foreigners, we should make it clear to them that if they are in trouble, there are proper ways of seeking help, without breaking any laws.
FROM READER RAYMOND, ANTHONY FERNANDO
This article was first published on June 8, 2015.
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