Malaysians discard 17,800 tonnes of food daily; activists push for zero-wastage

Beatrice Nita Jay New Straits Times 20 May 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: The government must promote a zero-food wastage culture among Malaysians to help curb the growing problem of food wastage in the country.

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the move must be undertaken, as research by Solid Wastage Corporation Management (SWCorp) has shown that Malaysians discard 17,800 tonnes of food every day.

He said for the zero-food wastage initiative to succeed, all levels of the community must be roped in, as everyone has a responsibility to put a stop to all forms of wastage.

“If the education and awareness programme fails to change the negative behaviour of the public, the authorities may have to introduce new legislation that will ensure that those who waste food are fined or receive other kinds of punishment,” he said in a statement today.

Lee was commenting on a proposal made by the High-Level Committee on Urban Poverty to implement a food aid programme for the urban poor via the National Blue Ocean Strategy.

But after chairing the committee meeting on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the programme would inconvenience various ministries and hypermarket operators.

Lee said food wastage is rampant in Malaysia, as our people could be seen helping themselves to more food than they could consume, especially when at buffet spreads at hotels, restaurants and open houses.

He said this is especially so during the month of Ramadan, when Malaysians would pile their plates with huge portions of food and not be able to finish it.

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