M'sia politician: 8-course meals? Make it 5 courses instead

A Malaysian executive councillor has drawn criticism for suggesting that dishes served at Chinese banquets should be cut to prevent wastage.

State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh had proposed that dishes served at such banquets should be limited to five instead of the traditional eight, reported the New Straits Times.

His suggestion, however, has drawn the ire of members of the Penang hospitality industry and eatery operators.

They say that his suggestion goes against the norm observed by the Chinese community.

An assistant marketing communication manager of a Batu Ferringhi beach hotel, Ms Angeline Chen, 27, said Mr Phee's idea would not reduce food wastage.

She said: "A better way for Chinese restaurants to cut down wastage is to serve dishes in smaller portions at banquets.

"The traditional Chinese community is in favour of the number eight, as the number is auspicious and a sign of prosperity."

Law lecturer Tay Eng Siang, 45, described Mr Phee's suggestion as impractical.

He explained that it will not work as the authorities or the state government have no control over private functions.

"The state government should instead set an example during official functions to limit the dishes served in Chinese banquets before asking eateries and the public to follow suit," he said.

Mr Phee, when contacted, said his suggestion was misreported by a Chinese daily.

He said the traditional eight food items served during Chinese banquets are five main dishes, soup, entree and dessert.

He said that he had suggested doing away with one main dish to reduce wastage and save costs.

"It is not even a state-sanctioned proposal.

"I was just floating an idea on how to be thrifty and not be wasteful," he said.

This article was first published on November 18, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.