Can’t stomach this? Let’s purge dirty eateries

IT has been a series of distasteful events.

A video of three Raj Banana Leaf workers washing metal plates in a pothole filled with water at the Bangsar outlet made its rounds on May 29.

The operator was quick to apologise and offered free ‘Buka Puasa’ meals scheduled for this evening.

But it was too little too late, leaving more than a foul taste in the mouth of the seething public.

Even Kuala Lumpur Mayor Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz expressed his disgust in no uncertain terms when he told Twentytwo13’s Pearl Lee on May 29 the “gila punya restaurant” would be sealed.

He didn’t mince his words. The eatery, graded ‘A’ by City Hall for cleanliness, was shut yesterday until further notice.

The nauseating incident irked consumer groups with one of them describing it as a “betrayal of public trust”.

Following the series of reports that have emerged since, we have decided to prepare our very own “wholesome banana leaf rice set”.

Banana leaf

It consists of:

Bitter (gourd) questions

Q: How did the restaurant get a Grade A rating for cleanliness?

City Hall environmental health division deputy director Chandrakant Patel said: “Grading is done after City Hall’s annual inspection. We won’t know what happens in between the annual inspection dates.

“This is where we hope patrons will alert us if they feel an eatery is not clean.”

“The outlet in Bangsar was generally clean when we inspected (yesterday morning) but they didn’t have a big dishwashing area.”

Q: Who owns Raj Banana Leaf?

It is owned by Intercompass Sdn Bhd. According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia, the directors are Muhamad Rizal Abd Rahman, Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Muhammad Hafisze Hamid.

The shareholders are Rizal and Hafisze.

Lee, Malaysia’s top badminton player, told Twentytwo13: “I’ve got nothing to do with the company. I don’t even have any shares in the company. I’m no longer part of it. I’ve told the operators to issue a statement regarding this.”

And they did. Raj Banana Leaf, had on its Facebook page at 7.59pm yesterday, said:

Spicy (mutton varuval) truth

Raj Banana Leaf said the incident took place on May 25. The video only made its rounds four days later.

The restaurant was sealed under Section 28(1) of the Licensing of Food Establishments (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) by-laws 2016.

Chandrakant confirmed the new batch of foreign workers did not undergo any food handling training.

The Health Ministry, in a statement yesterday, said it issued three notices under Section 32B of the Food Act 1983. The ministry said workers from the restaurant failed to get anti-typhoid vaccination, did not attend food handling training and the restaurant was not in its registry list.

Sour (fish curry) dilemma

Many dine out daily. Hectic work schedules would mean opting for quick meals from such eateries.

However, eating out also makes one vulnerable to many illnesses, especially if the eateries are filthy.

The ignorant ones claim “the tastiest food is often found in the dirtiest surroundings”. If you don’t join the crowd, you will be labelled as “fussy”.

This saga also shows the cleanliness grading rating is not a reflection of the true situation. Would you really believe the big ‘A’ sign on the wall?

Crunchy (papadam) reality

Other restaurants also practise distasteful habits – from cockroaches and flies infesting their kitchens to hiring workers without proper vaccination.

In some eateries, undocumented foreigners prepare food. The level of hygiene is questionable.

How many more restaurants, including those in swanky Bangsar, are guilty of such nauseating practices? In September 2016, City Hall closed two restaurants in Jalan Telawi for being dirty and infested with cockroaches. Last year, another eatery in the area disgusted many after a patron found maggots wriggling in her fried Maggi chicken.

Sweet (payasam) ending

Hopefully, there is one. If consumers don’t demand better and cleaner services, then it is pointless vomiting insults when another queasy incident takes place.