New Straits Times
Liow: No ban on sale of nasi lemak
BANGI: There has never been any calls to ban or restrict the sale of nasi lemak in school canteens or elsewhere, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.
He said the food items listed in the revised guidelines for school canteens were merely “recommendations” intended to increase the number of healthy food choices for students.
“Nasi lemak is healthy.
“The ministry had never called for a ban on our traditional food in school canteens.
“The recommendations were for school children to enjoy a wider variety of food served in their schools,” he told a press conference after meeting Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Masahiko Horie for lunch yesterday.
He said the impetus for the revision was to reduce obesity levels among children and to introduce them to a healthier lifestyle, starting with their eating habits.
“If there was a pre-determined schedule for school canteens to serve different types of food every day, schoolchildren will be exposed to different types of foods which is essential for a balanced diet.”
“The issue was never about judging which foods were healthy or unhealthy.
“The ministry did not say nasi lemak was unhealthy therefore it must be banned or restricted,” he said.
Clarifying recent media reports stating that nasi lemak will only be served in schools twice a week, he said the recommended schedules and list of foods to be served have yet to be finalised.
“A committee was set-up to oversee the revision of food guidelines for school canteens.
“They are still working out the details with our counterparts in the Education Ministry,” he said.
Liow urged the public not to speculate or politicise the matter.
“There is no conspiracy or hidden agendas.
“This was a simple exercise to ensure our next generation have the best guidance to living a healthier lifestyle,” he said.
Meanwhile, an education ministry official said officers from both the health and education ministries would be meeting next week to discuss the matter.