Malaysia: Ahmad Zahid to lead Cabinet Committee to empower halal certification, industry

Also present were Ahmad Zahid, Religious Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar; and Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

Kuala Lumpur: A single cabinet committee will coordinate empowerment of Malaysia’s halal certification and boost the industry’s competitiveness, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said today.

He said the committee will be led by deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“We do get high scores for halal certification but I want it to be better, as an exemplary model for other countries and in terms of efficiency, quality research and ability to give prompt approvals.

“I met with several world leaders – from China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia – and have also discussed the halal industry, with them focusing on Malaysia, so it will be a great loss if we don’t give it special attention,” he said when opening the Global Halal Summit 2023 here today.

Anwar, who is also the finance minister, said given that the global halal industry market is expected to reach US$2.4 trillion by 2024, he had asked Zahid and the department of Islamic development to focus on strengthening certification and trade promotion to make Malaysia a market leader.

Anwar said the synergy between halal certification and trade promotion was of utmost importance, and demanded industry players stop working in silos.

He said, aside from food and beverages, the halal industry extended to other products such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, consumer goods, logistics services, medical devices, and contract manufacturing, where the “halal and clean” assessment could attract interest from non-Muslim countries.

“All of this needs to be coordinated with the Halal Development Corporation Bhd (HDC) and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) because there is specialisation and synergy with the local industry.

“Or else, we will only introduce and issue halal certificates, and not develop our halal industry,” he said.

He also wanted the opportunities to be given to micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the halal industry, so that they could compete internationally alongside well-known and established companies.

“There is a new emphasis on providing space for MSMEs with appropriate assistance. If this is not under Jakim’s purview, it may be under Matrade or Mara. Coordination is crucial,” he added.