Halal certification, industry to level up with new committee


KUALA LUMPUR: A new Cabinet committee will be formed to coordinate the different arms of the government involved in the halal industry, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said the new committee, to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, will ensure there is synergy between all agencies, departments and ministries to propel the halal industry further.

He added that there should be better approaches to promoting the halal industry, and the agencies in charge should not work in silos.

“If we want to move upwards in the halal industry, we must change the way we work with better targets.

“It will be a big loss for us if the global acknowledgement that has been given to the Malaysian halal industry is not paid attention to. We must congratulate the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) for having pioneered halal certification.

“I have requested that DPM Ahmad Zahid coordinate all the agencies, including Jakim, departments and ministries, that have roles in the halal industry,” he said in his opening speech at the 2023 Global Halal Summit (GHaS) at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) here yesterday.

Anwar said he has also discussed issues concerning the halal industry with leaders from China, Japan, Vietnam and South Korea during international meetings.

The Prime Minister said that halal is not only popular among Muslims but also among many others because of its cleanliness and good content.

“The halal certification of Malaysia is largely recognised by the international community. Countries and industries refer to the Malaysian certification as it is recognised for its high standards, and this is why we should fully utilise this recognition.

“The certification is not merely ‘halalan toyyiban’ (clean and good), but to look into more efficient and speedier issuance of the certificates.

“The synergy between the certification and the promotion of the halal industry is important,” he added.

Anwar said that smaller companies with halal certification should also be allowed to enter the global market.

“As for Islamic finance, which was introduced 40 years ago, these instruments are insufficient now. We should ensure that these instruments of Islamic finance be made alternatives for everyone, not merely as instruments ‘without riba’,” he added.

(Riba, which means ‘interest in Arabic, is forbidden for Muslims.)

“We should upgrade Islamic finance instruments so that they can be absorbed into the international economic architecture,” said Anwar, adding that the halal industry could be worth more than US$1 trillion (RM4.7 trillion).

At the same event, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said Jakim can now issue a halal certificate within 30 days for local applications and three months for foreign applications.

“Jakim has stepped forward by implementing the ‘Malaysian Halal Certification Initiative 2.0’ to enhance the issuance of halal certification without neglecting aspects of integrity or Islamic laws,” he said.

He added that Jakim is working towards the standardisation of halal standards between different countries and industries and making full use of high technology.

“We use digital tools like block chain technology to monitor the entire supply chain and educate customers about the halal status of goods.

“We will also apply technology integration to streamline the certification process for submitting applications, surveillance and communicating with certification bodies,” said Mohd Na’im.

The GHaS opening ceremony was also attended by Ahmad Zahid, other ministers, and foreign dignitaries.

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