Malaysia: Mujahid urges MACC to probe Jakim’s halal certification dept

By Balvin Kaur, New Straits Times

GEORGE TOWN: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa today urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) over allegations of corruption involving its halal certification department.

GEORGETOWN 25 NOVEMBER 2019. Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa berucap pada program Simposium Wakaf Negeri Pulau Pinang di Hotel Royale Chulan, Georgetown. NSTP/MIKAIL ONG

Mujahid said, as the minister in charge of Jakim, it was important for him to be open and transparent about the issue.

“I have nothing to hide. MACC is welcome to probe,” he added.

Mujahid was asked to comment on a claim by Hong Kong-based news portal Asia Sentinel that Jakim officers had been asking for bribes to register meat handling and processing outfits, including small businesses such as food and beverage outlets.

The portal also named a top official who is allegedly behind the scheme in the Nov 7 article.

Mujahid said while the allegations were unsubstantiated, they were still bad because they could damage the image of Jakim’s halal certification, which is reputed to be the best in the world.

“I am not sure if it is a business-driven issue. If it is so, we did not receive any complaints.

“There is an internal probe going on over the matter, but I am still not satisfied.

“That’s why I am asking the MACC to conduct an investigation,” he said, after delivering his keynote address at the Penang Wakaf Symposium, here.

Mujahid said Jakim had been widely targeted and undermined by many, with the most recent attack via an opinion piece in a news portal written by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer Dr Sharifah Munirah Alatas, who called for open discussion on the function of religious authorities such as Jakim.

“When I became the minister in charge of religious affairs, my main concern was to reform Jakim and the first step is to get the narrative right.

“That is why we have come up with the concept of compassionate Islam,” he added.

Mujahid, who is also Parti Buntar member of parliament, revealed that he had been questioned on the RM1.3 billion allocation given to Jakim.

“Many are saying the amount is too big to give to Jakim.

“But, 60 per cent of the allocation is to pay for the allowance of more than tens of thousands of imams, guru ta’mir and guru tahfiz.

“Jakim only gets 40 per cent of the allocation.

“If there are any government departments that want to take over (paying the imams and others), by all means, go ahead.

“Since you do not want Jakim to have that money, let others pay the 60 per cent,” he added.