Turning SMEs into Halal Champions

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid with
keynote speakers during the open panel forum. – PHOTOS: FARAH AHMADNAWI & AZIZ IDRIS

By Farah Ahmadnawi & Aziz Idris

Ms Tina Mazni Jamaluddin, General Manager Corporate Marketing of Prima Agri Products Sdn Bhd,
Malaysia, conducted a presentation entitled “Turning SMEs into Halal Champions” during Session Four of
the International Halal Market Conference (IHMC) 2009.

In her presentation, she highlighted all the aspects of management needed to become a ‘Halal Champion’,
which includes operation management, brand management, quality standards, as well as finance and best
management practices.

“Your products and services are based on these five key elements to turn your businesses (SMEs) into
‘Halal Champions’,” she said.

A graduate of Hawaii Pacific University in 1990 with a BA in International Business, Ms Tina Mazni has
been instrumental in dealing with various government agencies, developing incentives and grants for
Malaysian SMEs, as well as attending international trade shows and buying missions worldwide.

“The capabilities and capacity to produce a product are through the sourcing of raw materials and
ingredients. We can identify these sources from its origin and consistent supplies.

“Strict guidelines should also be imposed for the selection of suppliers, where reliability of the source
(supplier) must be put into account,” she added.

Touching on financial capabilities, Ms Tina Mazni said, “You (the SME) must allocate resources to
maintain a brand – the Brunei Halal brand for example – and ensure its sustainability.

“The government plays a role, whereby the relevant authority (MIPR) should assist on grants or incentives,
including development programmes for the SME.”

Over the years, Tina Mazni has worked closely with several international QSR brand owners like YUM!
International, Subway and Burger King to develop standards aimed at the Halal market and accordingly
upgrading the product quality.

“In order to achieve success, you as the SME must have control over your products and services. This is
intended to deliver on the brand promise, so as to set a bench mark for your industry,” she said.

Meanwhile, in his closing speech, Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar, Permanent Secretary at
the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and chairman of the organising committee, applauded and
reiterated the topics touched by the panel of guest speakers.

While highlighting how they related to different elements of the Halal brand as a whole, he stated the
importance of standard and quality, which should come together, as it is what the market seeks nowadays.

He added that the problems faced in producing Halal-certified products also need to be addressed. “Now,
compared to five or 10 years ago, Halal is not as new. We have come a long way. Halal is not just a logo
with Arabic writing; it is now considered a solid brand.”