PUTRAJAYA: Hotels nationwide have been encouraged to participate in the Food Bank programme.
The move is to collect and distribute food for the needy was well as reduce food wastage especially during Ramadan.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said food wastage increased to more than 15,000 metric tonnes during the fasting month.
He said such a wastage comes through the hosting of ‘buka puasa’ events.
"The ministry doesn't regulate these. However, hotels are encouraged to participate in the food bank programme to distribute their leftover foods, through their own initiative.
"There are no issues such as 'halal' status of the food that they distribute as it is prepared by professional chefs and therefore food cleanliness and security is guaranteed.
"There are several hotels doing it on their own and we are supportive of them. If they require the database of eligible recipients, we will provide it to them," he said.
Saifuddin said this to reporters after launching the Seminar Food Bank Malaysia programme today.
The programme which was introduced last year, aids the poor and the underprivileged to receive food. It has currently benefited some 150,000 including institutes of higher learning students.
There are about 430 contributors including several hotels which had joined the Food Bank programme.
Saifuddin said the ministry is also looking at the Food Bank model in United Kingdon which is self regulatory in contributing food to the needy.
However, he said a regulation would be needed for such a move to be implemented in Malaysia.
On the Good Samaritan Bill which is being drafted by the ministry to monitor and regulate the food bank initiative, he said the first draft had been sent to the Attorney-general's Chambers and is expected to be tabled in parliament by this year.
On the seminar, Saifuddin said it was held to give a better understanding to the individuals and organisations which are interested in learning about the programme.
Some 139 people had participated in the seminar today. Their inputs and opinions will be used to further enhance the programme, Saifuddin said.