Brunei Halal Role Model For Many Countries
Written by Sonia K.
Brunei Times, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 06:30
Sultanate first to set standards, guidelines for healthcare and pharmaceutical products
Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei Darussalam has developed a very good
Halal standard because it is rigorous and pays a lot of attention to
details. “It is clear to anyone in the Halal sector that Brunei takes
Halal very seriously,” Abdalhamid David Evans, Senior Analyst for
Imarat Consultants and the Event Manager for the International Halal
Market Conference 2009 (IHMC), said.
He spoke at yesterday’s press briefing on the upcoming 4th IHMC,
which will be held on August 1 and 2 at the International Convention
During the briefing at the Ministry of Industry and Primary
Resources, he said, Brunei has taken the strictest approach and if a
product is Halal compliant in Brunei, it should be compliant anywhere
else, because it should have exceeded the minimum standards.
“This puts Brunei in a very strong position,” he said and added that
Brunei, though small, can be a very important role model for countries
around the world.
Brunei’s standard for Halal food is comprehensive and is very good.
It is certainly if not the best in the world then among the best in the
world, Abdalhamid David Evans added.
During the briefing he told the press that Brunei is developing a
Halal science centre like some other countries. “This is very important
because Halal science is also going to be a growth sector in its own,”
The media was told that over the last five years, focus on the Halal
sector in general all over the world has increased enormously.
Countries, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, have paid greater attention
to the Halal market and to developing their own Halal sectors in their
In that sense, Abdalhamid said Halal has become a global market
force as it is emerging as a global market force. “For a country like
Brunei, because of its status as a Malay Islamic Monarchy, the role of
Halal is extremely important and we understand here in Brunei there are
three main focuses for the development of Halal,” he said.
First, he pointed out that it is a collective responsibility to
provide Halal food for the Muslims. Brunei takes it as a first
priority, a religious duty. Secondly, Halal has also been used in
diversifying the national economy away from its dependence on oil and
gas. “So halal has been earmarked as one of the industries that can be
developed in order to diversify the economy,” he said.
The third element he added was as a means of developing the SMEs,
Halal has also been chosen in a way to develop this.Abdalhamid said
this year, there are going to be some good announcements and
developments with those projects in the next week.
He said the way they have approached the conference is two-fold. The
first is to ensure that the conference itself is a world-class event in
terms of choosing themes and speakers. “We have tried to ensure that
the topics that they cover and theme each year are something that are
relevant not just in Brunei and in the Southeast Asia region but to
Halal as a globally developing industry,” he said.
Second is to make the conference a way of showcasing Brunei’s
achievements in the Halal industry. “This year will be particularly
relevant in terms of unveiling some of the new developments that are
happening with the new Brunei Halal brand”, which brought to the theme
“Halal – an engine of growth and opportunity”.
He said, “Halal can be something which can drive forward an economy
and we know that this approach to Halal is something being considered
by many countries and we feel that that this theme is particularly
relevant in Brunei because of the role that Halal plays in the domestic
World-class speakers have been linedup to address the conference and
the topics are not just about Halal as a religious element or
obligation. He said the conference will look into the business of Halal
and how to make it a syariah compliant business at a global level.
The element of being compliant to the laws of Islam becomes the
defining parameters for business. “So with the development of Islamic
finance over the last two decades and now in the recent years with the
development of the Halal sector, we have really seen the Islamic laws,
guidelines and parameters playing an important role in global industry
and commerce,” he said.
“This is the area where the Muslim world is looking for leadership
and this is a role where Brunei, though small, can be a very important
role model for countries around the world, be they Muslim or
During the conference, one of the issues that will be discussed with
the SMEs is that while food is the obvious arena for the Halal market,
it is not the only one.
Abdalhamid said, Brunei is also playing a leading role with the
development of standards and guidelines for healthcare products and
pharmaceutical products and medicines, which make them the first as it
hasn’t been done by any other country.
“Brunei is very much leading in this area of standards development
and there are many standard agencies from various parts of the world
who will be attending (the conference) and I think it would be
interesting to look at how collaboration can be done in this field,” he
He said as far as he knows, Brunei is the first country that has
completed standards for pharmaceutical care and healthcare products.
“And I think the important thing here is to demonstrate the way that
syariah compliance translates into industry compliance standards.”
The development of pharmaceuticals and standards in Brunei opens the
possibility for companies that are interested in that sector,
Abdalhamid said, as Brunei becomes potentially an interesting place to
invest and set up headquarters for projects because Brunei has the
guidelines and standards.
He also spoke about how there is a huge demand for Halal food around
the world and there is not enough supply to meet the demand. “There is
a huge gap between supply and demand,” he said.
People are looking for new market sectors and Halal is starting to come into the radar.