Extra boost for halal sector

KUALA LUMPUR: The benefits of trade fairs such as the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) go beyond just higher sales, says the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said sales at such annual fairs would have a spillover effect on the entire halal-related sector, which will contribute to Malaysian companies, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“In fact, the increase in sales in the halal sector will ultimately boost the gross domestic product (GDP).

“(This is) in addition to opening up more space and opportunities for Malaysian (businesses) to bring the halal industry to the international level,” he said during the Mihas opening ceremony at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) here yesterday.

He added that a total of RM16bil in investment had been generated through Halal Malaysia Industrial Parks (Halal Parks) to date, with RM9.5bil or 59% being foreign direct investments (FDIs).

Halal Parks were built to boost the Malaysian halal industry – there are 22 such parks nationwide covering 200,000 acres (81,000ha), of which 14 have been certified by the Halal Development Corporation.

“Each Halal Park offers world-class infrastructure, skilled labour, business facilities, access to halal ingredients as well as government incentives to encourage halal development.

“There are 295 companies operating across the 22 Halal Parks in Malaysia, of which 42 are multinational companies,” said Ismail Sabri.

“The halal industry does not only focus on the food and beverage sector, but also other industries and services.

“The opportunity for the halal industry to develop will always be wide open as the Muslim population reached a total of 1.9 billion people worldwide last year.

“It shows that there will be potential for the halal industry to diversify, and be more inclusive and comprehensive in the long term,” he added.

Mihas will be open to traders and the public until tomorrow.

A total of 1,258 booths comprising local and international exhibitors are participating in this year’s edition themed “Diversifying Halal Possibilities”.

At a press conference later, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) deputy chief executive officer Shahrimaton Mat Salleh said this year’s exhibition also includes a new industry cluster – Islamic arts and craft.

Matrade CEO Datuk Mustafa Abdul Aziz said the agency would continue its efforts to encourage halal businesses to explore new markets.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong said that as Malaysia had signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), member countries would also be counted as new markets for the halal industry.

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