Mimit eyes global sales of GoHalal system

By Melvin Jong

MIMIT E-Technology aims to hit the global market with its recently developed online halal food verification system, the first of its kind in the world.

The developers expect the database to be marketed and put to use in
at least 20 countries within the first 24 months of its launching,
scheduled before June this year.

The Bruneian IT company’s GoHalal system won the grand prize of the
ThinkBig business plan competition organised by the Brunei Economic
Development Board.

“This can be quite a challenge,” Hj Rushdi El-Hakim Dato Seri Setia
Hj Ibrahim, managing director of Mimit E-Technology, said of the goal.

“But we are looking forward to it because we are confident that this
system is sellable in notonly Brunei but also the global market.”

He told The Brunei Times the GoHalal system, which does not give
certification but help facilitate and speed up the halal accreditation
process by relevant government bodies, is currently in the beta-testing

Mimit hopes to put the system online before June this year.

Hj Rushdi said that, at present, obtaining halal accreditation for
food in Brunei is a very strict procedure involving 13 different
departments, a process that can take up to three months.

“If I have a product from China and I want to introduce it to the
Brunei market, then I would have to certify that it is halal and this
would mean having to go through these 13 departments, which will take
time. This means that I will lose a lot of profit just to enterthe
Brunei market,” he said.

“What we see from the government bodies right now is that they have
to look through reference books to determine if each ingredient used is
halal or not. By using the system (which houses a database of some
32,000 different ingredients), all you have to do is type in the
ingredients and you will know what is halal or haram (or unacceptable
in Islamic law) in just a few minutes,” he added.

Hj Rushdi expects the system to enable halal verification of a product in just one day.

He added that the server and database of the system would
continually be updated in accordance with the guidelines from both
Brunei and Singapore’s Islamic Religious Councils, among others.

“We have talked to the State Mufti’s Office and they are (looking forward) to using the system,” he said.

Hj Rushdi said the system would also help cut the manpower needed for the verification process.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. Anyone who knows how to
use a PC at a click level can use the system,” he said, adding that he
foresees the GoHalal system to be implemented into search engines such
as Google, Amazon or Yahoo.

“I see a connection because people use these search engines and we
want to take the opportunity to link this as a verification tool for
consumers,” he said.

Hj Rushdi added that a similar application for smartphones was also in the pipeline.

He said that the application works by informing the user on whether
the ingredients used in a product is halal or haram, by recognition of
the barcode.

“Being a Muslim, you look for halal food wherever you are. Back when
I was a student in the United Kingdom and Australia, we were always
given guidelines by the high commission on what foods we were not
allowed (to consume),” he said.

“I remember thinking back then that this was a very good idea that
is why we are looking to introduce these applications,” he added.

The halal food market is currently estimated to be worth $0.55
trillion while the halal market which includes pharmaceutical products
is worth $2.1 trillion.

The GoHalal project was awarded the joint grand prize in the ThinkBig Business Plan competition earlier this week.

“We saw there was a niche market, and the total Muslim population in
the world is 1.6 billion, and if we can just tap 0.01 per cent of that
we can still make money,” Hj Rushdi said of where the idea for the
project came from.

As long as there is a large Muslim population, he said halal food
would be in demand. Mimit is one of the ICT companies receiving backing
from iCentre.

The Brunei Times