LONDON: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has assured Malaysian restaurants here that the annual Malaysia Fest showcase will continue in the coming years.
The one-day event showcasing Malaysian food and culture – now in its 7th year – was held yesterday, and attracted an estimated 60,000 people to its venue in Trafalgar Square.
Last year, the event attracted 53,000 people – a rise from the 43,000 in 2014.
Mustapa said the unique culinary offerings of participating Malaysian restaurants here have been the pillar of strength and ingredient of success for the event.
“Both the High Commissioner (Datuk Rasidi Hazizi) and I will push for the event to remain on the calendar,” he added.
Mustapa is leading the biggest Malaysian trade and promotion mission to the UK, in a move for the country to create a bigger impact on British businesses and tourists.
Thousands thronged the iconic square from 12 noon till the food festival ended at 10 pm yesterday.
The street food mix was described as a powerful pull for the diverse London population, especially on a Saturday
Apart from partaking in the delectables offered by the 20 participating restaurants, visitors also experienced the various dance and music forms found in Malaysia.
Numerous Malaysian companies and government agencies also took advantage of the event to promote their products and services.
Teddy Chen, chairman of the Malaysian Restaurants Association UK, made an impassioned plea to the government not to discontinue the event and to keep supporting it.
But seeking financial support from the government will be difficult, warned Mustapa.
“We’re also big in our promotions elsewhere in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, Beijing and in the Middle East and we cannot start a precedent,“ he said during a meeting with the culinary participants of the event yesterday.
“More than the tangible effects, we should look at the knock-on effects which come from hosting such an event,” added Mustapa.
Rasidi remarked that the event has kept the Malaysian flag flying.
Source : New Straits Times Online