60% of halal product manufacturers non-Muslims, says minister

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof visits a stall at the 2019 Jakim Halfest at the Mines International Exhibition Convention Centre today. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Data from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) shows that more than 60% of halal product manufacturers are multinational companies owned by non-Muslims.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof said this is because non-Muslim producers realise the importance of halal certification for their products to be marketed both domestically and internationally.

“On the other hand, many Bumiputera entrepreneurs have yet to apply for halal certification from us. Why they have not perplexes me,” he said at the 2019 Jakim Halfest at the Mines International Exhibition Convention Centre at Seri Kembangan here today.

Mujahid, who is in charge of Islamic affairs, said that with Jakim halal certification, a product is not only instantly recognised as using halal ingredients but also is hygienic regardless of whether it is Muslim or non-Muslim produced.

As such, he urged Bumiputera and Muslim producers who have applied for the Jakim halal certification to do so.

“With halal certification, Bumiputera companies will be able to compete with multinationals not only domestically but in the foreign markets as well, giving their products more access and consumer confidence,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Mujahid said Islam never taught its followers to choose products according to race, but stressed the importance of them being halal and hygienic.

“We have to focus on two important criteria – confidence in ‘Halal Malaysia’ and ‘Buy Malaysian Products First’. We use halal as our benchmark.

“As a Muslim, when I travel abroad, I look for halal food. I will ask if the food is halal or not, regardless of whom I am buying it from,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who launched the event, Jakim director-general Mohamad Nordin Ibrahim, Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) chairman Syed Hussein Al Habshee and National Halal Council Secretariat director Sirajuddin Suhaimee.