'My nasi kandar shop is non-halal'

PETALING JAYA: "I don't intend to confuse anyone. I am only running a small business in a clearly 'non-halal' store."

These were the words of the Nasi Lemak and Nasi Kandar stall owner, Suresh G, 38, in response to the viral news about the sale of pork dishes.

According to him, the pork dish Nasi Kandar or Nasi Lemak is a special delicacy and represents his brand of business that he has been managing for the past three weeks.

"I've been in business for three weeks now. Only yesterday did I notice this issue going viral, including some articles about it. I used to have a restaurant but it closed down. That's why I decided to open a stall and rent a space in a Chinese shop."

"Since this is a 'non-halal' store, that's why I sell 'non-halal' dishes, which include pork. I don't mean to inconvenience anyone.

"I'm just trying to make a living. I sell this food specifically in a Chinese shop, not in residential areas. So, my customers are typically non-Muslim.

"This menu has been my brand since the beginning of this stall. I haven't thought about stopping. Besides, it's a specialty here because the idea and branding are like that," he said when met at his stall located in Damansara Jaya today.

He believes that selling these dishes is not wrong, as similar dishes are also sold in many other "non-halal" stalls around Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

"If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, the words 'non-halal' are clearly stated. Even in every post, 'non-halal' is written in large letters. We make it clear and unambiguous.

"Even the business logo shows the image of the animal. So, there shouldn't be any confusion. I've registered under the 'non-halal' business category.

"So, I don't think I'm doing anything wrong. I don't intend to insult or embarrass anyone. There's no intention to touch on anyone's sensitivities or hurt anyone's feelings. Absolutely not.

"I'm not the first person to do this; there are many similar stalls in KL and PJ. For example, pork Nasi Lemak isn't new. I find it strange; I'm the first to do it, yet facing criticism. Yesterday, someone even contacted me and said they wanted to meet," he said.

He mentioned that his understanding of Nasi Kandar was curry-based dishes.

"So, I make my own mixed curry and provide options for dishes, including pork. My customers are not just non-Muslim," he said.

He is also open to meeting with any relevant associations, including government bodies.

Earlier, a video went viral featuring a female influencer promoting this business on TikTok, sharing Indian-style pork Nasi Kandar.

The video caption read, "The only stall in Malaysia to sell Indian style pork Nasi Kandar and Nasi Lemak".

The video received a reaction from the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma), expressing displeasure over the promotion of that food. They considered it a form of disrespect towards the Nasi Kandar industry in Malaysia, which has been pioneered by Muslim restaurant owners for decades.

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