PETALING JAYA: All the fuss over the halal certification of Auntie Anne's "pretzel dog" will negate Malaysia's status as a moderate nation, says Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (pic).
The former cabinet minister is the latest to weigh in on the controversy and has expressed her anger at those who only sought to paint the country in a negative light.
"We are supposed to be a moderate Muslim nation. With such decisions, we have negated that and now appear to be a nation governed in some spheres, by people with horse blinkers on," she wrote in a Facebook posting on Thursday.
Rafidah questioned if some people had gone "doggone loco (crazy)" for trying to change the name of a popular Western snack.
"We are not eating dogs. That is a Western snack food. We cannot take the liberty to change the names of other people's food!" she said, referring to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department's (Jakim) decision to reject Auntie Anne's application for halal status, purportedly over the word "dog" in one of its food items.
The veteran politician pointed out that if this incident was the standard to go by, then "halal food vigilantes" should hunt down all types of food that are named after forbidden animals.
"Cucur badak (hippo fritters), badak berendam (wallowing hippo), kacang kuda (horse nuts), tahi itek (duck excreta)... and where and how do we classify the 'offensive' sweets such as lompat tikam (jump and stab..murderous) or putri bersiram (Princess bathing... obscene!)," she said sarcastically.
Rafidah also said that only an "odd minority" would get confused or doubt the halal status of snacks like hot dogs.
"Do we cater for that odd tiny minority? Forgetting the vast majority of Malaysians and visitors who know what hot dogs are?
"If any Muslim is in doubt of the 'halal-ness' of anything, then avoid it," she added.
On Thursday, Jakim clarified that the word "dog" was not the reason why the pretzel chain did not receive halal certification.
Its halal division director Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee explained that the pretzel chain's application for halal certification had failed due to incomplete paperwork.
He claimed that his previous remark on Tuesday over the word "dog" should not be linked to the halal certification, adding that it was a general statement and not specific to Auntie Anne's case.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom also confirmed that Jakim would meet with Auntie Anne's representatives to iron out the matter, adding that the regulating body never intended to declare hot dogs as haram (forbidden).
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