KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has ordered the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to simplify the process of halal certificate issuance and hasten approvals.
The Malaysia Halal Council chairman said Jakim should not burden applicants and decisions on approvals must be made within 30 working days.
Zahid said he received complaints that halal certificate approvals were given nine months after application, some two years after and others who received nothing after years.
Although Jakim had taken proactive steps to speed up approvals, Zahid added there were still complaints which led to negative views.
“Because of these complaints, all of our achievements will not get positive views from the people. There needs to be improvement to correct the perception.
“It is not impossible to expedite approvals because we have religious leaders who are experts in ‘halal toyyiban’ matters apart from having scientists, food technologists and specialists.
“It is compulsory for these two groups to work together and we should not work in silos,” he said in his speech at the Halal Sector Forum 2023 at MITEC today.
Zahid said he had also instructed Jakim to hold halal certification workshops thrice a year for new applicants and renewals to ensure that all stipulated regulations are followed.
With applicants guided and educated on the know-hows, Zahid said there should be no reason for any more approvals to be delayed.
Zahid said he would hear from International Trade and Industry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak on synergy efforts to propel the local halal industry on Oct 3.
This was after the advice by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday to build synergy between government departments and ministries.
“We do have a Halal Industry Master Plan 2030 but I cannot wait seven more years.
“Our efforts must start from now and I want to see positive steps taken by year end,” said Zahid.