Malaysia: Prioritize setting up of Halal Professional Board

PUTRAJAYA: The setting up of a Halal Professional Board – a database for halal consultants to advise businesses – should be prioritised, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

“Some Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have complained of unqualified or even bogus businessmen who call themselves halal certification professionals,” said Wee.

He added that with such a board SMEs will be able to check the credibility of the professionals they want to handle their halal certification processes.

Wee added that SMEs were keen to take part in halal business ventures, but he found in his meetings with the business community there are SMEs who need more guidance in the halal certification process.

“They also need advice on how to maintain the standards of their operation so they can continue to deserve the certification,” said Wee.

Wee added that recent cases of businesses whose halal certification were withdrawn sometimes created unnecessary friction in the community.

“We must not ignore the sensitivities of any ethnic group as we grow our businesses together,” said Wee.

He added that non-bumiputra participation in halal industries was growing fast as about 70% of companies in halal industries are Chinese companies.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department added that halal businesses must also capitalise on the China market.

“The Muslim population in China is bigger than Malaysia’s. China has been the largest trading partner for our country for the last six years,” said Wee.

He added that bilateral trade surpassed US$100bil (RM420bil) for two years in a row.

Wee, who spoke at the launch of the Halal Forum 2015 here on Wednesday said that the annual volume of the halal market could reach US$2.3tril (RM9.72tril).

The Halal Forum 2015 is jointly organised by the Secretariat of the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME), the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and Jakim.

The event also included a ministerial panel consisting of Dr Wee, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Malaysia’s halal exports were valued at RM37.7bil for 2014 and RM19.5bil for the second quarter of 2015.