‘Halal anchor company’? Another GLC disaster

We are a ‘halal’ food product manufacturer that
applied to enter the ‘Halal Anchor Company Award’ promoted by the Halal
Industry Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (HDC). As a company which has
gone through the audit exercise and evaluation of our organisational
performance, we have now come to realise that the whole exercise is
filled with flaws as listed below:

1. The evaluation of the
organisation with respect to the criteria assessment was not done based
on our company’s documented evidence. We were, in fact, asked to fill
in the evaluation forms ourselves and we were at liberty to determine
our own performance measure as we please.

Where is the
objectivity or even independent and professional ethics here? If we
could provide false information, how do they verify? Thus what is the
decision-making process based on?

2. Auditors sent to our
premise were not industry-competent and in some instances, could not
even interpret or elaborate on the application of some of the
evaluation criteria. There were questions that they couldn’t even
answer. If it is not within their capacity to provide comprehensive
explanation on some of the criteria, what is the basis of sending them
to conduct the audit?

3. We know of companies that had been
visited many times by HDC, but strangely until now, they still cannot
decide on the award winners and this might be due to the fact that from
the rumors that we heard, the winners had been predetermined. But
somehow, other companies in the running are much better in some of the

4. We were not surprised at all when the second
finance minister stated recently that Malaysia had lost her first-mover
advantage in the ‘halal’ industry as HDC, the main body entrusted by
the government to consolidate the advantage, was busy putting up events
after events like the ‘Halal Anchor Company’ for show instead of
developing the ‘halal’ industry players in the real sense. It is a slap
to our faces.

We do not hold any grudge against any SME that
would eventually be awarded the Halal Anchor Company but we are
frustrated with the manner in which HDC conducted the programme and the
selection or evaluation process. We were made known that the HAC award
carries financial benefits of up to RM1million per company which makes
up close to RM4 million for the four HACs.

Imagine what this
RM 4million could do to improve the capacity or well-being of other
SMEs or micro-business entities that are in dire need of assistance.
Some of the SMEs who attended the judging held recently at the One
World Hotel on Nov 12 told us that the criteria set by HDC was all over
the place.

We thought that the Halal Anchor Company would be
made up of a company with a good vendor programme in place. How come
then manufacturers with no vendors could also qualify to be
short-listed? We, the SMEs, are close-knit and we exchange notes.

there is HDC’s Best Halal Innovation Award. Here again is another
‘event’ they launched but until now, no one from HDC has even presented
anything to us. They have not even met with us to explain how we can go
about applying for this. Whenever we ask, it’s the same answer: ‘Refer
to our website’.

If everything is on the website then the
government should just run websites. Why bother setting up HDC and have
a division called SME Development? This award carries with it various
cash awards of almost RM1 million as well. Surely care and attention
should be given to ensure the best nominations are entered with such
money at stake. Or does HDC not care about the taxpayers?

One of the predetermined winners, achieved a 86% score on both
evaluation criteria from scorecard two and three. Despite the fact that
the person HDC interacted with during the ‘audit’ admitted that the
company’score income was not generated from the food business, a score
as high as the above will seem inconsistent with organisational

We are evaluating food companies based on their
core competencies, not on other complementary investment-holding
activities. And how does HDC judge a company that has recently changed
ownership, because the above-mentioned campny has been sold.

does this indicate? Would the owner sell off this company if he
perceives a future growth potential? And what can we say about an
entrepreneur who partially or fully cashes out on the slightest
presentation of offer by another party?

These are important
considerations as HDC should be awarding companies based on their
performance and future potential under their present ownership or
management. New ownerships or managements usually establish new
policies and create new directions. The current evaluation results
might not apply.

Below are the other companies selected for evaluation:

a. MM Vitaoils Sdn. Bhd
b. Muslim Best Marketing Sdn. Bhd
c. Sidney Cake House Sdn Bhd
d. Kampung Koh Sauce Sdn. Bhd
e. Adabi Consumer Food Industries Sdn Bhd
f. AYS Sri Kulai Sdn Bhd
g. Sal’s Food Industries Sdn Bhd
h. Healwell Pharmaceuticals Sdn Bhd
i. Al-Miswak Sdn Bhd
j. Nicko Jeep Mfg Sdn Bhd

the varied size of companies as well as the output and business? How is
HDC comparing them and how can one criteria fit all of them if they
come from such diverse industries?

Please treat us industry
players with respect and please stop taking us for a ride with the
trappings of your glamorous but pseudo-events and publicity.