Malaysia: Jakim must carry out thorough tests before rejecting applications

KUALA LUMPUR: Halal food producers here have complained of high-handed tactics by the Islamic Development Malaysia Department (Jakim) in the issuance of halal certificates.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said producers of coffee, chicken burgers, Taiwan sausages, milk powder, BBQ sauce, chicken wings and otak-otak complained that Jakim had refused to issue them halal certificates after traces of pigs and dogs were detected in their products.

He said once the tests by Jakim showed that a certain product was contaminated, the producer “is finished” because no second test would be carried out to confirm the first test results.

“Even when there is an independent laboratory to prove that the product is not contaminated, it is not accepted by Jakim, which only accepts its own test results.

“Just by one test, Jakim is telling the manufacturers that their products are non-halal.

“This is unfair to the food producers and it is a high-handed tactic,” he said after meeting food producers here yesterday.

Dr Chua questioned what standard Jakim’s test was based on and whet­her it was internationally accepted.

“It must also explain to the manufacturers why their products, which had always been halal, suddenly became non-halal,” he said.

Dr Chua said there should be more communication with industry players to see how they could develop the industry better.

Jakim director-general Othman Mustapha said all product samples were sent to the Chemistry Depart­ment for analysis.

“The testing method, level detect­ed, equipment, analysts and accreditation all play a very important role and will influence the test results.

“Due to all these factors, Jakim only accepts the analysis by the Chemistry Department, which is also practised by other government departments, including the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumer­ism Ministry,” he said.

He also said that Jakim tests were conducted on product samples and their raw materials when there was suspicion or complaints against certain products or materials.