29 April 2019
By Salama Evans, Managing Editor, Founder
I do not believe that it should have to be the responsibility of the media to have to expose these accusations, with the public as the jury. It should be taken offline, done using elected third party authorities based on evidence given from both sides, which is being offered, to make an unbiased ruling resolving these allegations. Then the outcome should be published for the public to read.
Or, as Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood said on his Facebook page: “And since the writer of the article (who is himself a Muslim) says that the publication has all the evidence to back up its claims they should be brought to a court of law and compelled to produce the evidence or, failing which, be made to retract the allegations and pay damages.”
I also feel a more thorough explanation needs to be given, for those who are not clear on this, some of some history leading up to what is going on here with regard to Halal certifier accreditation, or ‘authorisation’ as in the case of the Halal certifier Muis.
Halal accreditation was an ongoing campaign by the late Abdalhamid Evans, Strategic Analyst, Imarat Consultants and Co-Founder of HalalFocus, for exactly this reason. He always said every industry has a third party accreditation body and so should Halal to prevent things like this happening ideally. He also campaigned for ‘tayyib’ (pure and lawful) always be connected to Halal as it is in the Quran. For this reason, I have added ‘Ethical’ to the HalalFocus banner in order for it to be easily recognised to a larger readership.
Abdalhamid informed ESMA in Dubai, when preparing for the Global Islamic Economy Summit to launch Dubai as the ‘Centre of the Islamic Economy’ in 2013, the importance of accreditation of certifying bodies. In May 2016, Mohammed Badri, former Deputy Director of ESMA, launched and became Secretary General of the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF). Similar regionally independent accreditation organisations also established themselves around the world for the same purpose of auditing Halal certifiers.
This was done to harmonise conformity assessment practices in the Halal sector, including Halal standards, and establish Multilateral Recognition Agreements between member bodies that would facilitate Halal trade globally.
Organisations like Jakim, MUI and Muis still play this role themselves by approving Halal certifiers recognised by them, Halal certifiers, but country representatives with a long history in Halal certification and Halal standards behind them. This is based on the compliance and implementation of the halal standard which adheres to their country’s characteristics and models. The logos of these certifiers are put on the some of the approved Halal certifiers’ websites in order to verify them which was important to them. This of course gives the importance of being ‘delisted’ as it casts a bad light on them, especially if they felt it was done unjustly for money or favouratism. As in the case of many of the accusers.
Jakim, have also come under attack with similar corruption accusations being made in 2019 and religious authorities denied all the allegations of wrong doings committed. Subsequently, following further investigations on the allegations, Dato Dr Sirajuddin was transferred out by JAKIM.
LPPOM MUI were accused of corruption in beginning of 2019 and doubt we will see anything official come back from that to the mainstream media. Though it has been dealt with between the one who raised the complaint with BPJPH authorising his ‘listing’. They have also a a previous allegation in the past which resulted in the parliament passing the laws 2014-33/34 resulting in MUI losing its monopoly. Indonesia launched the new government linked Halal certifying body BPJPH for international recognition of certifiers overseas in October 2019 though it has not really come into effect yet; with MUI separated from LPPOM being the main organisation in charge of all Halal matters.
Muis is the only Halal certifying body for Singapore recognising Halal certifiers authorised for certifying product exports to Singapore, many of which are re-exported out of Singapore increasing the importance of the size of the market.
BELOW ARE THE ARTICLES REFERRED TO IN ASIA SENTINEL AND MUIS RESPONSE IN STRAITS TIMES:
22 April 2020 – Original Article in Asia Sentinel
Documents point to rogue official in food documentation
A top official of the department that ensures food consumed by Singapore’s Muslims complies with Islamic teachings has allegedly used his position to engineer the accreditation or de-listing of overseas certifying bodies he favors or dislikes.
According to documents and recordings made available to Asia Sentinel, Munir Hussein, assistant director of the Halal Certification Strategic Unit of the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, (the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore), allegedly also abused his powers by divulging confidential commercial correspondence to third parties in attempting to pressure companies to employ preferred consultants and employees.
For the full article please go to the Asia Sentinel who are the writer and publishers of this article:
27 April 2020 – Straits Times – Singapore
Muis rebuts allegations of corruption in its halal certification process
Muis said, ‘Key decisions of Halal certification are not made by one person but an independent panel.
28 April 2020 – Asia Sentinel
Additional Complaints Surface Against Singapore Halal Certifier
New allegations support Asia Sentinel investigation of irregularities
By Murray Hunter
27 April 2020
This comment responding to the articles by Mohamed Jufrie Bin Mahmood, a socio political activist, must also be added to the list and he has a very firm solution that he feels should be put in place:
19 May 2020
Singapore Halal Unit Under New Questions
Australian auditor joins others in demanding answers