Halal Act a catalyst for industry

THE highlight for the halal industry in 2009 was a plan to draw up a legislation to regulate the sector.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the formulation of
Halal Act as a move to further advance the halal industry in Malaysia
during the tabling of 2010 Budget.

The government will
formulate the Halal Act in collaboration with state religious councils.
The Act will be the basis for the development, regulation and
enforcement of halal industry activities.

the Act in place, the Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) will also
be corporatised as an agency under the Ministry of International Trade
and Industry. It will prepare and implement an action plan for the
development of the halal industry.

The move is in line with HDC’s main role to coordinate the growth
of the sector. In July last year, the issuance of halal certificate had
been reverted to the Islamic Development Department after having been
in the hands of the HDC for about a year.

HDC chief executive
officer Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin said the move will let it focus on its
main purpose to strategise the growth of halal industry instead of
dealing with both the regulation and development of the industry.

Since its inception in 2006, HDC has been focusing on seeking new
investments and re-investments from companies in four targeted areas,
namely food and beverage, halal ingredients, livestock and agriculture,
cosmetics, personal care and pharmaceuticals.

In 2008, it managed to secure RM800 million in new capital expenditure mainly from the Nestle group’s re-investment.

By mid-2009, it secured RM500 million in investments partly from the
RM350 million F&N building at the Selangor Halal Hub Pulau Indah.

The corporation is also looking at another RM500 million worth of
investments as there are companies that are applying for HDC incentives.

The World Halal Forum (WHF) also had its first conference outside Malaysia, held at the Hague in the Netherlands in November.

This was following the resolution of the fourth WHF Kuala Lumpur in May
to push for a regional WHF in Europe to create the awareness of halal
products in Europe.

Despite the outbreak of influenza A H1N1
and economic recession, the Malaysia International Halal Showcase
(Mihas) 2009 managed to generate RM3.2 billion in sales during the
exhibition in June compared with RM2.2 billion sales in 2008.

Mihas has projected RM3.5 billion in sales for this year’s event.

The development of halal parks is also gaining momentum.

There are now eight halal parks being developed in Kedah, Perlis,
Pahang, Terengganu, Kedah, Labuan and Penang. The ones in planning
stages are Perak Halal Park, Sabah Halal Park, Johor Halal Park and
Malaysia International Halal Park Selangor.

Meanwhile, there
are five halal parks that are in operation which are the Port Klang
Free Zone Pulau Indah, Selangor Halal Hub Pulau Indah, Pedas Halal Park
Negri Sembilan, Serkam Halal Food Park Malacca and Tanjung Manis Halal
Hub Sarawak.