Because of the Sultanate’s imaginative, innovative and integrated halal programme, by default, Brunei has taken the ‘thought leadership’ role in the halal market, said Hj Abdalhamid David Evans, the managing director and senior analyst for Imarat Consultants, a specialist consultancy that focuses on the global halal market.
“Brunei’s approach to its Halal programme is more focused and can (therefore) serve as a model. If you look at what is happening in other countries, particularly within other Muslim countries such as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference member states, they all have been much slower to look at halal as a true potential engine to diversify and drive the economy,” he said
He added that the many components of Brunei’s halal programme make it unique compared to others.
“Brunei’s whole halal programme has many components involved such as the development of standards, certification standards, which I feel is one of the best in the world, the development of Brunei’s Halal Brand, the agro-tech park, the port … all of these make up an halal ecosystem,” he said.
Hj Abdalhamid told The Brunei Times that he had observed leadership gaps in the Muslim world so even though the Sultanate is a small country with a small domestic market, the country’s integrated halal programme has the potential to serve as a role model for others.
“It is not just a project, but a very comprehensive integrated programme which is unusual. To my knowledge there is no other country in the world with such an integrated programme in halal,” he said.
Hj Abdalhamid noted the advantages that the Sultanate has in terms of pushing its halal initiatives.
“One of the main advantages that Brunei has is that it is a Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB). There is a kind of national philosophy and identity that is connected to that so there is a certain pride that runs all the way through the society of being MIB and the halal programme fits in to this perfectly,” he said.
“The whole halal programme and industry, all of these reflect the values of the national identity and MIB philosophy,” he added.
The same was said about Brunei’s halal brand, stating that all elements of MIB also fits the brand’s profiles and values.
“No other Muslim country is producing their own national halal brand. There has been many successful national brands such as the Swiss chocolate and New Zealand lamb but none of them are done with connections to the halal sector or from the Muslim perspective. Brunei is bringing all of these together,” he said.
“This will bring in Islamic values into the marketplace in a way that has not been done by any other countries. This is very commendable,” he added. “many of these issues will be presented and discussed at the forthcoming IHMC, Brunei’s 5th International Halal Market Conference on 5-6 June this year.”