Muslim organizations to gain more clout

Singapore – Muslim institutions will
have more clout in Singapore under proposed changes to the law
governing Islamic affairs, news reports said Tuesday. The tightening up
on abuse of the halal logo is aimed at giving the Islamic Religious
Council more strength in supervising and enforcing halal certification.
“The change comes at a time when the global halal food industry
and exports to Middle Eastern markets are growing,” The Straits Times
said. The amendment proposed by the government to Parliament
would resolve an anomaly in the current law, which makes individuals
who misuse halal certificates liable to jail terms but companies doing
the same thing subject only to fines. With the proposed change
to the Administration of Muslim Law Act, officers of such companies
will face jail terms of up to 12 months and fines up to 10,000
Singapore dollars (6,993 US dollars), the report said. The council will
be able to collect fines of up to 2,000 Singapore dollars (1,398 US
dollars), instead of having to start court proceedings. Another
key amendment will allow the council to offer consultancy and other
services beyond Singapore and to charge fees or commissions. Muslim
bodies in Britain and Australia have expressed interest in using
educational materials prepared by the council, the report said.