KUCHING: Malaysia should take advantage of its credibility in issuing halal certifi- cation to venture more into the global halal market.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said there was now a growing demand for halal products, including food and pharmaceuticals, around the world.
However, he said figures from the International Trade and Industry Ministry showed that Malaysia’s halal exports of RM38bil were still low compared to the global halal market worth RM7.3tril.
“Our market share is still very small. There is plenty of room for us to seize the opportunity to venture into this area.
“As a country which has credibility in providing halal certification, we should make more efforts to penetrate the global market,” he said when opening the 6th Borneo International Islamic Conference here yesterday.
Taib said this was also necessary in view of the efforts made by neighbouring countries like Thailand and the Philippines to tap into the halal market.
For instance, he said Thailand had set up laboratories for halal products, which showed how seriously it was taking this industry.
“We should look for opportunities and potential products that we can focus our efforts on developing,” he said.
He added that the state government, on its part, had started a halal hub in Tanjung Manis which was attracting companies to produce halal goods for export.
The Chief Minister also said Malaysia’s credibility in halal certification should be backed by scientific testing of halal products in the licensing process.
In this respect, he welcomed the initiative of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sarawak to set up a RM10mil halal laboratory at its Kota Samarahan campus.
Along with its diploma in halal management programme, the university would help produce skilled workers for the halal sector in the state, he said.
Earlier, UiTM Sarawak rector Prof Datuk Dr Jamil Hamali said the two-day confe- rence, which is organised by the university, aimed to collect reference materials on halal and haram matters and provide a platform for discussing Islamic issues in Borneo.
He said 100 papers in various disciplines would be presented in the conference, while Brunei’s Religious Affairs Minister Pengiran Datuk Seri Setia Dr Mohammad Pengiran Abdul Rahman was one of its keynote speakers.