Malaysia: World Halal Forum 2012 – Cultivating a Universal Halal Lifestyle

The Halal Journal

The 7th World Halal Forum (WHF) started on 2 April with Deputy Prime Minister, YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin officially launching the annual forum at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

The two-day forum attracted the participation of 720 delegates and over 35 speakers. With participants and speakers from over 36 countries, WHF 2012 provides a stirring platform for a stimulating discussion on the USD800 billion worth Halal industry.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin, in his keynote address, praised the World Halal Forum for its efforts in emphasizing on a universal appeal on Halal principles and for leveraging on creative channels like the arts, media and entertainment in spreading good values.

“The success of a system is not just about numbers but also about whether it could improve the quality of life and about good values,” said Tan Sri Muhyiddin in his keynote address, officially marking the opening of WHF.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin also stated that the new generation of Muslim youths are asking for more value out of Halal and not just mere compliance to its standards.

Established in 2006, WHF has since become part of the Malaysian government’s 15-year plan to become the world’s Halal hub. With this year’s theme “INSPIRE, INNOVATE, INVEST”, WHF 2012 goes beyond its usual exploration of business perspectives and reached out towards the grassroots with its primary focus on consumer issues, as well as helping the industry’s understanding on its beneficial values, to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

The annual gathering of industry captains showcases contemporary speakers such as Advertising, Branding and Marketing expert from the United Kingdom, Jonathan Bilal Wilson; author of UK bestseller “Unimagined”, Imran Ahmad and Graphic Designer and Artist, Peter Gould from Australia. They shared their views on challenges related to consumer issues as well as promoting key messages of universal values via various communication channels.

“For 2012, we want to leverage on all our past achievements and cultivate a universal Halal lifestyle that transcends religion, race, culture and location,” said Hajjah Jumaatun Azmi, the Founder-Director of the forum. “We also believe in the power of the music and arts to spread universal ideas and channel positive, wholesome values.”

She stated that the Halal industry is steadily evolving towards a more holistic values-based direction making the concept of Halal applicable to everyone.

WHF, which became a non-profit entity in 2011 and hosted by the International Halal Integrity Alliance (IHI Alliance), also emphasized that all parties including small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) should seize lucrative potentials and use the forum as a platform to explore new strategies in the booming Halal market globally.

“What is certain now is that, the Muslim world’s population is currently increasing. The Muslim population as at year 2010 is estimated at 1.6 billion. Naturally, the expansion of the Halal market is inevitable,” said Darhim Hashim, CEO of IHI Alliance.

Acknowledging the many challenges in ensuring global Halal integrity, he stated that the solution was the formulation of a set of International Halal Standards which will serve as a benchmark to the Halal industry.

“The Alignment of Halal Certification practice should be in place to ensure Halal integrity globally,” he added.

WHF 2012 also showcased at its display area a new retail arm, Rumi and Kohl and its vast collection of jewellery and ethnic furnishings; “Rezeki”, a new publication which aims to convey universal ideas and concepts to young, urban entrepreneurs and “99”, the critically acclaimed comic book series by Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, which features the world’s first superheroes based on Islamic culture, values and society.

WHF 2012, with the Platinum sponsor being the Malaysian chapter of Turkish ice cream brand “Mado”, concluded on a high note with the resolution to pave the way towards a future where good values and noble principles are shared universally, achieving a complete, holistic and Halal lifestyle for all. Other sponsors include Nestle Malaysia, Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad (CCM), Fonterra Malaysia, Bank Rakyat, Prince Court Medical Centre, Tanjung Manis Halal Hub, Penang International Halal Hub and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).