PUTRAJAYA: Any corporate body found guilty of trying to mislead customers with the halal status can be fined up to RM5 million.
This warning comes from Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim.
In a statement today, he said it was based on the Trade Descriptions (Halal Definition) Order 2011.
“If an offence is committed by an individual, those concerned can be fined up to RM1 million or jailed for up to three years, or both, upon conviction,” he said.
Nordin said traders and entrepreneurs should be sensitive enough to develop their business by meeting the needs of both Muslim and non-Muslim consumers in the country.
He advised Muslim consumers to choose only premises that had been certified as halal.
Nordin was commenting on a statement by Federal Territory and Selangor Malay Muslim Food Operators’ Association (Permas) president Ayob Abd Majid that Jakim should impose a mandatory requirement to restaurant owners and operators to obtain the halal certification first before they start their operations.
Nordin also stressed that Malaysia’s Halal Verification Certificate (SPHM) was on a voluntary basis, in accordance with the Trade Descriptions Act 2011 and Trade Descriptions (Halal Definition) Order 2011.
Thus far, there are no regulations that require operators or owners of food premises to obtain SPHM, either from Jakim, the state Islamic Religious Department (JAIN) or the state Islamic Religious Council (MAIN), he added.
“The proposal for the mandatory requirement of halal certification for all food premises will require feedback from various parties,” he added.
Nordin advised all restaurant operators and food product manufacturers to obtain halal certificates from Jakim to ensure the food being sold was halal as well as to enhance consumers’ confidence.