Sarawak consumer group condemns McDonald’s halal cake policy

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PETALING JAYA: A consumer group in Sarawak has joined the chorus of voices speaking up against the latest policy by McDonald’s in allowing only certified halal cakes into its outlets, The Borneo Post reported today.

Consumer Voice of Sarawak (Covas) president Michael Tiong said that the fast-food chain should not even think about enforcing such a policy in the state as it was “nonsensical”.

He believed any such rule would cause greater segregation and destroy the multi-cultural and multi-religious environment that the people of Sarawak had been living in all this time.

“We believe that the current move by McDonald’s is pure nonsense. If the cakes were produced by Muslims but if they were not certified halal, is the cake then immediately or automatically non-halal?

“Then all homemade cakes, even those made by Muslims, immediately become non-halal just because it is without certification,” he was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.

He called on Sarawakians to “fight back” against McDonald’s and make its outlets the “last place to go for birthday celebrations”.

Tiong’s remarks were in response to a confirmation by McDonald’s last Thursday on the new regulation.

McDonald’s confirmed that only certified halal cakes are allowed inside its chain of restaurants.

In a statement to FMT, McDonald’s said the policy was in compliance with guidelines issued by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) for halal certification.

“As a company that offers only halal-certified products, we implement a ‘no outside food policy’ to ensure that all products served and consumed at our restaurants are halal.

“In the case of ‘birthday parties’ at McDonald’s, we have made an exception to allow customers to bring in their own birthday cakes as part of their celebration, provided that the cakes are certified halal.”

It said the policy was important to the integrity of its halal certification and it would continue to comply with Jakim’s standards.

Last Friday, the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) also waded into the “halal cake” controversy, saying Jakim’s halal certification should apply only to food served in F&B outlets and not food brought into the premises.

In a statement released , Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said Jakim should not penalise halal-certified eateries that allow diners who bring in non-halal certified food into their premises.

“There is no such thing as halal or non-halal premises,” Gan said.