Friday April 20, 2012
Promoting 100 best kopitiams in Malaysia to the world
By DERRICK VINESH
BUTTERWORTH: The Tourism Ministry will come up with a list of 100 best kopitiam in Malaysia to promote the nation’s unique coffee shop trade internationally.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association would help identify such coffee shops and prepare the list by June.
“Our traditional kopitiam (Chinese coffee shops) is a unique heritage that can only be found in Malaysia.
“It is time that we promoted the kopitiam globally, but they must always maintain their identity,” she said after opening the association’s annual general meeting at Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya here yesterday.
Dr Ng said coffee shop owners must transform themselves according to the times, stressing that they should upgrade their services as well as maintain cleanliness and hygiene at the highest levels.
“An average tourist to Malaysia last year spent about RM300 or 17% from an average expenditure of RM2,260 on food and drinks.
“So, we should see how our coffee shops can use this opportunity to benefit from the country’s expanding tourism industry,” she said.
At the moment, she said, many tourists patronised franchise restaurants instead of the traditional kopitiam due to poor hygiene, noting that Malaysian kopitiam must rise up to the desired standards.
Dr Ng said the association should also consider forming a co-operative to generate various benefits for fellow members, adding that it was easier for members under a co-operative to obtain bank loans to expand their businesses.
“I do agree with the association’s thoughts of wanting to form an institution to groom kopitiam operators and instill greater professionalism among them.
“But, they must also look into the necessary curriculum and human resources to provide the training and how that will transform our kopitiam industry,” she said.
Association president Ho Su Meng, said the association, which owned an eight-storey building in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, had applied for financial assistance from the Government to help open an institution costing about RM1mil.
The association, which was formed in 1946, he said, has over 20,000 members in Malaysia and Singapore.