Malaysia to focus on halal, Islamic finance industries in trade with Arab countries

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 14): Malaysia intends to keep its focus on the halal and Islamic finance industries in its efforts to enhance trade relations with Arab countries, says President of the Arab-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce (AMCC), Datuk Dr Hafsah Hashim.

This would be important if Malaysia plans to achieve its aim of stronger trade links with the Arab countries, she said.

Through the AMCC, Malaysia expects to cooperate with all the 16 embassies of the Arab countries here to push for stronger businesses between Malaysian companies and the Arab countries, she said.

The halal business and Islamic finance are expected to provide the best opportunities for Malaysian businessmen and companies to explore and expand their businesses in the Arab countries.

Dr Hafsah said that if Malaysia is able to cooperate with the 16 countries and get an agreement for the production of not only halal food products but also other halal products such as medicines, pharmaceutical products, it will be able to join the 16 countries and be among the Islamic countries with the capacity to produce goods that can be used by Muslim consumers all over the world.

Speaking to Bernama in an interview at her office here recently, she said Malaysia had already started taking several initiatives reflective of its earnestness to develop the halal industry.

“For example, Serunai Commerce Malaysia has been cooperating with 78 halal certification centres in 45 Islamic countries including the 16 Arab countries.

“Through this cooperation, the company has been able to develop an application called ‘verify halal’ to enable consumers to check on the halal status of a product even when they are overseas,” she said.

The AMCC is a trade body that was established in 2009 by the joint efforts of Malaysia and member countries of the Arab League.

The trade body, which currently has over 300 members comprising Arab companies operating in Malaysia as well as Malaysian companies in Arab countries, aims to strengthen trade and investment opportunities between Malaysia and Arab countries.

According to a report issued by the Statistics Department of Malaysia, the five Arab countries that registered the highest trade value with Malaysia in 2018 were United Arab Emirates with RM22.86 billion followed by Saudi Arabia at RM21.67 billion, Qatar RM3.72 billion, Oman RM3.3 billion and Kuwait RM2.81 billion.