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MAH: Jakim forced to be strict

 | January 15, 2013

The Malaysian Association of Hotels says that Jakim is understanding and wants to protect the rights of both hotels and their Muslim patrons.

PETALING JAYA: There have been cases where hotels do not follow the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development’s (Jakim) standard operating procedure and this has forced the department to act, said the general manager at the training and education centre of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH).

Sahak Ahmad said the recent Crystal Crown Hotel debacle surrounding “halal” signboards which were erected at three elevators was a result of a series of discussions between three groups.

The three groups were MAH, the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) and Crystal Crown.

“MAMPU is the government’s monitoring body which participates in focus group meetings that discuss the issue of ‘halal’ certification amongst others,” he said.

Last week, FMT reported that Crystal Crown had put up signboards beside three elevators which stated that only “halal” goods could be transported using those lifts.

Sahak said that MAH instructed Crystal Crown to consult the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS).

“We received inquiries from the hotel regarding the proper steps to follow concerning the transportation of food that contained pork,” he added.

Asked if Jais or Jakim played a bigger role, Sahak told FMT that for hotels based in Selangor, Jais was responsible for consultation but Jakim was the one which set the guidelines, the SOP and issued “halal” certificates.

Hotels keep Jakim in the dark

Sahak said there were some hotels which did not comply with Jakim’s SOP when it came to “halal” food, as the Islamic development body had found hotels with “halal” licenses serving pork.

“Previously, they [Jakim] used to allow hotels which serve pork to renew their ‘halal’ certificates, but due to the actions of certain hotels, Jakim had to change its policy,” he said.

Jakim was forced to become stricter with its guidelines, according to Sahak, because some hotels never responded after many attempts to contact them.

“Only when they come into trouble with Jakim or Jais do they come running to us [MAH] asking for help,” he added.

Sahak said that Jakim was worried about “cross contamination” of food and suggested for Crystal Crown to separate the passage way in which “halal” and “non halal” goods were transported.

“Jakim is willing to consider hotels’ appeal and they agreed to punish hotels [which do not follow their operating procedure] individually rather than a group.

“It is not appropriate to paint Jakim in such a bad light seeing that they were understanding and that certain hotels forced their hand in making such a decision,” he added.

Also read:

Hotel explains ‘halal’ signboards

Big brother Jakim angers Malaysians


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