Pig bristle brushes: Ministry orders halt to raids

Datuk-Seri-Hamzah-Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR: Two days after defending his ministry’s decision to seize paintbrushes made from pig bristles, minister Hamzah Zainudin has called off the raids to “preserve racial harmony and prevent any religious polemics”.

The domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism minister said the decision was made after a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

“I want my officers to stop the raids as if it is a huge problem for the country,” he said at a press conference earlier today.

Hamzah also said he was giving suppliers and retailers a month from today to segregate paintbrushes made from pig bristles and label products that contained porcine DNA, as required by the law.

“Action will be taken against retailers who fail to comply.”

Yesterday, an English daily reported the ministry had seized 2,003 paintbrushes made from pig bristles, worth close to RM11,000, in a nationwide crackdown.

The Star quoted Hamzah as saying the goods were confiscated as they violated the Trade Descriptions (“Goods made from any part of pig or dog”) Order 2013, which stipulates that such products must be labelled and kept separately.

“The ministry will continue with the inspections (nationwide) if there are complaints from consumers,” the daily quoted him as saying.

The raids were conducted after paintbrushes sent for testing at Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Halal Products Research Institute were found to be made from pig bristles.

Suppliers and retailers, Hamzah said, must be ethical and label their products to inform consumers of goods that contained porcine DNA.

“At the same time, I want to remind consumers that they must ask retailers if they are unsure of the contents of a product, especially since this issue has arisen.”

Hamzah also hit back at those who blamed Barisan Nasional for the issue and said, “I know there are certain quarters who wish to exploit this issue by dividing us and blaming the BN government for it.”