Halal certification issuance needs to be expedited, says Othman

PUTRAJAYA: The process of issuing halal certification to local industry players needs to be streamlined and expedited to optimise the potential of the growing halal industry, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said.

Among the initiatives that could be considered was to prioritise or speed up the approval process from companies that had already obtained specific certifications such as Good Agricultural Practices (MyGAP) or Good Manufacturing Practice, both of which are issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, he said.

"Basically, the halal logo is issued by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) but at the same time, other ministries have also imposed certain standards before industry players could qualify for halal certification.

"These conditions are already incorporated in Jakim's halal certification criteria.

"For instance, if a company have already obtained MyGAP certification, we would like to know what other additional requirements must be fulfilled before it could qualify for Jakim's halal logo. We need to look into this matter to facilitate compliance," he said.

He told reporters this after chairing the Budget 2018 Focus Group: Enhancing the Halal Industry Ecosystem meeting here, today.

Othman said the nation's exports of halal products totalling RM42 billion last year was too low compared with the US$680 billion market potential for halal food products within Muslim countries.

"We are confident the local halal industry players are ready to penetrate the global market but the main thing that we must resolve is how to facilitate the issuance of halal certification," he added.

He said the Department of Standards Malaysia had been asked to coordinate a meeting between ministries and agencies which have their respective halal certification and standards and find the best approach to streamline them to facilitate the issuance of halal certification by Jakim.

The meeting today also took note of the problems faced by Jakim which is the lack of manpower to manage the halal certification process and would propose to the government to recruit graduates in Islamic Studies as employees, he said. — Bernama