Stop seizing pig bristle paint brushes immediately: Hamzah

KUALA LUMPUR: Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin has instructed its ministry to stop seizing pig bristle paint brushes immediately.

He said this was to avoid creating racial and religious tension, noting the sensitivity of the issue and the multi-cultural nature of the country.

"Yesterday, I instructed my enforcement chief Datuk Mohd Roslan Mahayuddin to stop the raids. We should have done it in a more appropriate way.

"You have to accept we live in a multi-racial and religion country and that we must work towards accepting living in a harmonious society.

"Don't make this issue as something that could divide us Malaysians," he told a press conference today.

Noting that some traders were unaware of the content of their products, Hamzah said it would have sufficed for the authorities to simply advise or educate them, rather than take stern action.

"I just want to inform my officers, don't do raids like these as though it's a big national issue," he said.

Hamzah said there was also no need to create a logo similar to the "Halal" logo, and that it was sufficient for traders to put up labels to inform consumers on the make of the product (whether or not it contains pig bristles or contents as such).

He said this is in line with the Trade Descriptions (Goods Made from any Part of Pig or Dog) Order 2013.

"For those who have not yet labelled their animal-associated products, we will give them a month to do so, following which we will take action.

"Just write on a piece of paper or so, put all these items in one box or location, and label them, whether they are made of pig bristles, or if they were unsure of the contents," he said.

The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chairman Datuk Nadzim Johan had, on Wednesday, urged the government to make it a requirement to label all animal-associated products in the market.

Hamzah added that the ministry has no intention of troubling traders, saying: "We are looking at the ease of doing business. I want to ensure there is balance between the domestic economy and the consumers."

He said he was also aware of certain quarters blaming the issue on the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, stressing that sensitive matters as such must not be politicised.

KPDNKK seized 2,003 paint brushes made from pig bristles on Wednesday, valued at RM10,988.94, in 157 inspections nationwide.