PETALING JAYA: While no arrests linked to the cartel importing meat with fake halal logos have been made in Selangor, the state government is urging consumers to double check products if they have any doubts.
State executive councillor Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni said there was no guarantee that the meat was not sold in the state illegally although no arrests had been made.
He added that a special task force had been set up in October to combat the issue.
He also said the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) was working closely with other departments and enforcement agencies on the matter.
“The state government encourages users to be more attentive when buying products and to authenticate their halal status using smartphones if there are any doubts.“At the same time, they can also be our eyes and ears in combating the matter by reporting any product with fake halal logos, ” said Zawawi, who heads the Islamic religious affairs, consumer affairs and halal industry portfolio, in a statement yesterday.
Long-term solutions, he said, included increasing the production of local meat products as well as user awareness of the importance of the halal aspect in everyday usage.
The media recently reported on the cartel’s tactic of smuggling frozen kangaroo and horse meat from certain countries and passing it off as beef by repackaging it using the halal logo before selling it to supermarkets across Malaysia.
A raid was carried out at a warehouse in Senai, Johor, where 1,500 tonnes of frozen meat worth RM30mil were seized.
The cartel is believed to have been operating for several years.
In a statement, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the meat cartel issue should serve as an eye-opener to everyone regarding the need for Malaysians to be involved in production, especially of halal food.
Malaysians were too dependent on imported agriculture products and it was time that they got involved in the food production industry ecosystem, he said.
“We want more youth and unemployed graduates to become agripreneurs. They should open their eyes to the enormous business potential in the food production sector, ” he added
On Saturday, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) would tighten the SOP for halal certification for imported goods, including meat brought in by cartels.
The move, he said, would ensure everyone, especially Muslims, could obtain halal and clean food based on Islamic rulings.