GEORGE TOWN: The stage is set for Malaysia to become a powerhouse in the halal industry with inputs from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
Both universities joined hands in a memorandum of understanding signed today to spearhead the initiative to position Malaysia as a global halal support centre with the backing of 18 other public universities.
The signing ceremony was a milestone for the varsities to take charge and ensure Malaysia remains the leading global halal hub, with expertise in terms of testing and analysis by USM, and syariah compliance by IIUM.
The signing was witnessed by director-general of the Higher Education Department in the Higher Education Ministry, Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, and chairman of Public University Vice-Chancellors and Rectors Committee (JKNC/R) Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Kamarudin Hussin following a 20-university member meeting.
USM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Omar Osman signed the MoU with IIUM rector Datuk Seri Dr. Zaleha Kamarudin.
Omar said the tie up was vital to enable the halal expertise to be tapped by Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) with some 300 global members, both at the halal analysis and syariah-compliant stages.
“The expertise via the USM-IIUM tie-up enables Malaysia to achieve its aspiration as the global reference centre in the halal field.
“We will see more public universities coming on board to have more international cooperation and to share the halal know-how offered by IIUM to OIC members,” he said in a press conference held after the signing ceremony.
He said the tie-up would also enhance the wide global network by IIUM, with help from USM in positioning Malaysia as a halal industry resources centre.
Zaleha said USM had been a leader in the science industry and there was a need for IIUM to combine syariah expertise with science in the field of testing and analysis.
“We want Malaysia to set an international halal compliance standard guideline in the halal industry based on scientific approach with effect from next year,” she said.
Zaleha said Malaysian public universities would enlist help from several foreign public universities to tap into the OIC network to gain added expertise in the halal industry.
“Several local public univeristies will remain in the OIC pact to ensure Malaysia continues to lead in halal research,” she said.