Umno youth chief stands firm, insists on Tourism Minister's dismissal; throws back extremist label to Tiong

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth refuses to budge and stands firm in calling Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to dismiss the Cabinet Minister involved in recognising 'bak kut teh' as a national heritage dish.

Umno Youth Chief, Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh, described Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing's action as extremist because it shows a lack of sensitivity towards the majority of the country's Islamic population.

He also questioned the relevance of including foods that are mostly prepared with pork, thus being sensitive among Muslims, on the list of national heritage foods.

"It's not about having nine other foods also included in the list of national heritage foods, but it's about the relevance of including foods with pork as a basic element, which we know is very sensitive to the Islamic population, who are also the majority of the country's population, on the list of national heritage foods.

"Do you know that the list included in the gazette is 'bak kut teh', not seafood bak kut teh or chicken bak kut teh? 'Bak' specifically refers to pork in Hokkien.

"Indeed, bak kut teh can be replaced with halal meat according to you, but do you know how many bak kut teh claimed to be halal and sold in the market? The answer is almost all bak kut teh sold are not halal and contain pork," he said in a statement on Facebook today.

Yesterday, Tiong was reported to have criticised Dr Akmal by reminding him not to become an opposition or extremist group.

He was also reported to have suggested that the Melaka State Executive Councillor for Rural Development, Agriculture, and Food Security refer to the dictionary if unsure about its definition, following the bak kut teh issue raised.

Prior to this, Dr Akmal was reported to have urged the Prime Minister to dismiss King Sing following several controversial issues recently.

Dr Akmal was quoted as saying that the issues include bak kut teh being included in the list of national heritage foods and the demotion of Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Dr. Ammar Abd Ghapar to Deputy Director-General.

Meanwhile, Dr Akmal questioned the extremist accusations thrown at him by King Sing yesterday.

"Do you mean that when we talk about matters that are sensitive to the hearts of Malaysians, especially Malays, then we are called extremists?

"If so, then the extremists are people like you who do not know how to consider the sensitivities of the majority of the Islamic population in this country.

"We (Umno Youth) still stand by our stance for the Prime Minister to dismiss people like this from the Malaysian Cabinet," he said.

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