KUALA LUMPUR: The Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) does not rule out the possibility that non-halal meat were being smuggled into the country and sold off as halal.
In a special live interview on the department’s Facebook page, its research division senior director Datuk Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee said it was “not impossible to happen”.
He believed this was not the first time such things had happened.
“During a forum, we have been told that such cases also occurred in Singapore before.
“Because of this, Indonesia does not trust the (halal) meat from Singapore.
“The meat reportedly entered the warehouse in the port and the packaging was changed with halal labelling on it.
“So it is not impossible for this to happen in Malaysia today,” he said.
Sirajuddin, however, declined to confirm nor deny reports that claimed such operations had been going on for about 40 years.
He said the figure could have originated from industry players.
However, he said apart from proving the corrupt practises, there was also a need to address ‘leakages’ in the import process of the meat and ensure such case must not recur in the future.
He also agreed that the irresponsible parties behind the smuggling activities should be arrested to face the law.
On the list of companies believed to be involved in the meat cartel operations, he however said Jakim has no details on the matter.
“The investigators have all the necessary information on the case and we believe this will be revealed once they get a clearer picture,” he added.
Last week, the New Straits Times reported that a meat cartel syndicate has been in operation in the country for 40 years.
Syndicate members had reportedly bribed government officials to ensure that imported meat from non-certified halal sources abroad were certified halal after entering the Malaysian market.
According to the report, the cartel used proxy companies to prevent any direct link to its leaders.
These companies, which import the meat, adopt Bumiputera or Muslim names to give the impression to suppliers that its products are halal.
The cartel reportedly imported kangaroo and horse meat, which would be mixed with halal-certified beef in Malaysia, before slapping the products with fake halal logos and selling them to suppliers.
Earlier this month, the authorities raided a meat-smuggling cartel in Senai, Johor, and seized 1,500 tonnes of frozen meat worth RM30 million.
The raid by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and other agencies was carried out following a report by Sinar Harian in November.
Sirajuddin, who is also a former Halal Hub director, clarified that Jakim was not the only agency involved throughout the halal certification of abattoirs.
He said there will also be personnel from the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) and the Health Ministry visiting slaughterhouses abroad.
They will then present the audit reports to panellist from various agencies and experts.
The findings will then go through another process of discussion before Jakim gave recommendations on importing the meat into the country.
Following the news report recently, he urged the halal meat industry players to assure its users of its halal certification status.
“There are some industry players who imported it directly from the certified abattoirs.
“Now they may come forward to clear the air on their halal product status,” he added.
Jakim to issue list of licensed meat importers
KUALA LUMPUR Bernama: The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) will issue a list of licensed meat importers in the country to reduce public concern over their halal status, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.
He said further discussions were also being held with Jakim’s Halal Management Division to resolve the matter.
“I understand that the licence to sell the meat also involves other ministries. Therefore, we will work more closely with the ministries involved.
“I will look into this issue and review any problems related to Jakim’s halal (certification).
“If there are any weaknesses, we will improve them, ” he told reporters at the Dewan Negara yesterday.
The media recently reported that a local meat cartel had been smuggling frozen meat from abroad before repackaging it using the halal logo and selling it throughout Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Zulkifli said his ministry would continue to collaborate with all relevant parties to ensure the community got imported meat products that were 100% halal.
He also praised the swift action taken by processed food producer Ramly Food Prosessing Sdn Bhd to assure the community that it did not engage any middleman in the import of meat and raw materials.
“Kudos to Ramly Burger, because such a statement will remove doubts and worries of the people who buy the company’s products.
“Any butcher is also encouraged to publish similar statements to ensure every citizen, especially Muslims, get halal and clean food supplies, ” he said. — Bernama