CAIRO – Eyeing a bigger share of halal industry pie, the Malaysian government has invited all Malaysians to participate in promoting halal industry in the country, regardless of race and religion, the Malaysia Star reported on Sunday, December 18.
“I encourage Muslims and non-Muslim entrepreneurs to enter the industry even if they start small,” Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said before launching the Halal Transformation Program 2011 on Saturday.
“If they stay focused and have good management, they will succeed.”
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Now other goods and services can also be certified as halal, including cosmetics, clothing, pharmaceuticals and financial services.
Islamic finance is also one of the fastest growing sectors in the global financial industry.
Currently, there are nearly 300 Islamic banks and financial institutions worldwide, whose assets are predicted to grow to $1 trillion by 2013.
Growing by 5 percent every year, a huge Malaysia’s halal industry was worth RM15bil.
Attracting a huge sector of non-Muslim consumers, the global halal industry, currently estimated by Malaysia to be worth $547 billion, is expected to soon hit the impressive mark of one trillion dollars.
The Chief Minister added that big international corporations which were not Muslim-run had already practiced halal production.
“In Sarawak, the industry is open to all. I believe that the halal industry can be a big success not only because of support from various agencies and continuous programs such as this, but also because Malaysia has the most stringent halal certification requirements and one of the leading producers of halal goods in the world,” he said.
“Therefore there is a need to develop the Tanjong Manis Halal Hub to put our country and state at the top of the international halal market.
“I also see that population of Muslims in the world is ever increasing and there would be an increasing need for halal products.”
The goal of the Halal Transformation Program was put as to promote and market local halal products as well as be a platform for local entrepreneurs to expand their market and business networks.
“It is also part of the government’s transformation plan to improve the people’s income and standard of living,” the International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan said.
Jacob explained that five halal sectors had been identified as value propositions — palm oil, agriculture, health, tourism, wholesale and retail.
“In order to strengthen the development of halal industry in the country, we have to focus on local halal corporations and companies and ensure that they meet the international specification like the Hazard and Critical Control Point and Good Manufacturing Practice standards.
“Halal parks should also meet with these requirements so that Malaysia could be the leading regional halal distribution centre in the world,” he said.
Malaysia, a mainly Muslim country, is becoming globally recognized as the world’s halal food hub.
Halal food production zones are already operating or being built in six Malaysian states, and a sprawling halal distribution hub has been built at a duty-free shipment zone in southern Johor state, on the busy Malacca strait.
In 2004, Malaysia launched a bi-monthly magazine, The Halal Journal, as the first trade and business publication serving the global halal market.
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