KUALA LUMPUR: New Zealand has asked Malaysia to lift the two-year import ban on its beef, which was imposed when the meat was deemed not halal.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said his counterpart in New Zealand had expressed the countrys hope to resume the beef export to Malaysia.
A team of Veterinary Services Department and Jakim officers are now in New Zealand to inspect nine abattoirs there to determine that they adhere to Malaysian halal regulations.
We also want the New Zealand food security agency to monitor the abattoirs, which we hope will not introduce new slaughtering techniques that may go against our protocols, Muhyiddin said after launching the National Organic Farming Seminar 2007 jointly organised by the Agriculture Department and the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia yesterday.
He said New Zealand deemed it critical to obtain Malaysias halal certification, as it believed that Malaysia had an advantage as a halal hub.
If they get accredited as halal, they can use Malaysia as a staging point through collaborations with Malaysian partners and capture a bigger share of the global halal market, he said.
In 2005, Malaysia banned beef from Australia and New Zealand.
The ban on Australias meat was lifted last year.
New Zealand previously exported 5,000 metric tonnes of beef to Malaysia annually while Australia exported twice that amount.
On his New Zealand visit, Muhyiddin said it was to strengthen bilateral cooperation in agriculture and increase inter-agency cooperation.
We want to have joint research in livestock and dairy. We also raised problems we faced pertaining to their sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, he added.