Halal certs not simply issued

I feel that the writer of the letter “Halal cert and hotels” (The Star, June 30) is biased, not to mention playing the blame game.

blame the Halal Industry Develop­ment Corporation (HDC) for slow
issuance of the Halal certificate? Did the writer bother to find out
what these “petty and less important” issues are?

It may be
petty to the association but it matters a lot when it comes to the
requirements of having a Halal certificate issued to a hotel. For
example, if a hotel serves alcoholic beverages with meals ordered from
the halal menu in the room service, doesn’t that act alone contravenes
the requirement?

Most of the hotels that I have stayed in have a
sunken pool bar which also serves food. Being a Muslim, I won’t order
any meal from that outlet because it serves alcohol too.

I had
my fair share of experience as a chef in some of the hotels in Malaysia
and Australia. I noticed that most hotels in Malay­sia only hire
foreigners for the position of executive chef. How much priority do you
think these chefs will give when it comes to the halal requirement on

During one of my tours as a chef in one of these hotels
in Malaysia, I noticed the executive chef, a German, having his lunch
of ham and cheese in his office in the presence of his sous chefs, who
are Muslims. How ignorant can one be?

I suggest to all hotel
owners, for a start, to hire locals, preferably Mus­lims, to be your
executive chef and, at the very least, he or she will give top priority
when it comes to creating a halal kitchen environment.

I have
also witnessed cutlery, pots and pans from a non-halal outlet ending up
in the main kitchen which dishes out halal food. Some of these hotels
and coffee houses also serve alcoholic beverages together with meals
ordered. Doesn’t this kind of service cause delays in your Halal

Just because hotel owners have invested millions
of dollars in their hotels, they cannot assume that if they apply for
any government certificates, petty things like the requirements for
Halal certification can be overlooked by the governing bodies.

particularly Muslims, don’t really need to verify whether an
outlet/restaurant/stall is halal or not because they know it is if the
owner is a Muslim, and the kitchen is often managed by the same person.

does a Muslim know which hotels serve truly halal food when the head of
the hotel kitchen is run by a Mat Salleh? As a Muslim, I want to stress
on a stricter certification when it comes to determining whether the
hotel’s kitchen is truly conforming to the halal requirements.

HDC should place “spies” in hotel kitchens to report on their
compliance, irregardless of the role these hotels play in our economy.
The Government should not compromise on the requirements for issuing
Halal certificates to any of these hotels.