IPOH: Following numerous complaints by religious leaders, the Government has decided that there will be only one body issuing halal certificates and labels to denote food that can be consumed by Muslims.
The respective state religious affairs councils have agreed and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry will submit its working paper to the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for fine-tuning before the decision is carried out.
The standardisation of halal certification is in line with the Government’s objective of making the country a hub for halal food products, said its minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The move would also mean that there would be strict enforcement to allay fears and suspicions among Muslims about products and places that offer halal food, he said.
“There is now no control and co-ordination among the states, especially in terms of enforcement, to ensure that food manufacturers as well as restaurant and hotel operators adhere to the halal regulations.
“With a single body (issuing certificates and labels), we hope everything can be streamlined, including having a standard halal trade mark and fees imposed on food operators,” he told reporters after opening a consumerism seminar, organised by the Gopeng Umno division here, yesterday.
Muhyiddin said all the state religious councils had agreed in principal on the matter, following the many complaints made by religious leaders, as the move would prevent unscrupulous quarters from abusing the usage of halal certification and labelling.
He hoped the state governments, which have jurisdiction over religious matter, would give their strong backing to the proposal.
“We want to remind them that the proposal will not jeopardise the authority of the states over their rights on religious matters,” he said, adding that each of the state would have an interest when the planned body is formed at state level.
Furthermore, he said, the collection of charges for halal certification would still go into the states’ coffers.