Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Halal in Malaysia, Haram in Indonesia?

When I read the Malaysiakini's report on the halal certificate issued by HDC, I believe there are more than communication matters.

I used to sembelih during my student days. In Hamilton, New Zealand back then, there was a jewish family who let us sembelih ayam, kambing and lembu, while other Kiwis would not.

I thought halal was simple....then again when politics and business are involved....

Confusion over new halal certificates

Some exporters with new halal certification from the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) are facing problems exporting their goods to Indonesia. The new halal certificates are not always accepted by the authorities there.

Halal certificates are important for Muslims to distinguish between allowable (halal) and unallowable (haram) food, drink, medicine and cosmetics.
To people of other faiths, the certificates signify that a product meets high safety, nutrition and quality standards.

In Malaysia, 80 per cent of halal certificates are issued to food manufacturering companies which are not majority owned by Muslims, including multinational corporations. The certificates are necessary for them to sell their products to Muslim consumers.

In April last year, HDC also took over the halal certification operations from the Islamic Advancement Department (Jakim). HDC itself was established in Sept 2006 and also provides halal training, manages halal industrial parks and promotes the Malaysian halal brand.

Unfortunately, the new HDC halal certificates are now causing confusion in Indonesia. Muhammad Zein Nasution, vice-director for certification at the Indonesian Council of Ulamas (MUI) told Malaysiakini that his organisation does not recognise the new HDC certification.MUI only recognises the old halal certificates issued by Jakim.



The second round of halal reforms in 2006 again raised eyebrows because Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s family is involved in the halal industry as well.
Badawi’s son-in-law Khairy Jamalluddin is the former chairman of the World Halal Forum.
And according to a profile on the Asean 100 Leadership Forum website, Badawi’s daughter Nori Abdullah is a co-founder of KasehDia Sdn Bhd, a leading halal business consultancy that organises the World Halal Forum every year.