Decision on halal certification applications must be made within 30 working days - Zahid

13 Sep 2023 03:23pm
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. - BERNAMA PIX
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. - BERNAMA PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Decisions on applications for halal certificates must be made within 30 working days and there should be no excuse for delays, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

He said this was because there have been complaints suggesting that the application process has taken from nine months to two years, with some applicants receiving rejection notices only after two years.

"The report that I received from Jakim (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) shows that they have taken several proactive measures and the approval process has been expedited.

"While this information may only be on paper, there are still complaints out there,” he said in his keynote address at the Halal Sector Forum 2023 here today.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister also wants the workshop on halal certification to be held tri annually to expedite the issuance of halal certificates to new applicants or to certificate holders seeking renewal.

At the same time, Ahmad Zahid said that the procedures for obtaining halal certification should be simplified to avoid inconvenience to applicants, and this can be achieved through cooperation between religious groups, experts, and players in the halal industry.

"We must step out of our silos. We should no longer think inside the box or outside the box; we must act and think without being restricted by the box so that we can promptly implement what the prime minister has directed," he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said to ensure halal certification reform, the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions have offered courses based on Jakim's recommendations, particularly in the field of halal.

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Through this initiative, he said Mara, through Giatmara, and several other TVET institutions have been also tasked with producing more halal auditors for the industries that produce halal products.

Moreover, he said Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) has also established courses related to the halal industry at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral (PhD) levels.

"Therefore, I call on multinational corporations (MNCs) and large companies, especially those engaged in export-oriented products or manufacturing, to employ halal auditors to ensure that halal standards and procedures are adhered to based on the professional advice and insights of these halal auditors.

"In this regard, I would like to suggest, based on the prime minister's recommendation, that synergistic steps should be taken by the Investment, Trade, and Industry Ministry, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), Halal Development Corporation Berhad (HDC), Jakim, Department of Standards Malaysia (JSM), and Mara to ensure prompt coordination," he said.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid also visited the exhibition booths at the Halal Sector Forum 2023 and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding involving Mara exhibitors. - BERNAMA