KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 13): Decisions on applications for halal certificates must be made within 30 working days, and there should be no excuse for delays, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
He said this is because there had been complaints suggesting that the application process had taken from nine months to two years, with some applicants receiving rejection notices only after two years.
“The report that I received from Jakim (the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) shows that they have taken several proactive measures, and the approval process has been expedited.
“While this information may only be on paper, there are still complaints out there,” Zahid said in his keynote address at the Halal Sector Forum 2023 here on Wednesday.
Zahid, who is also the rural and regional development minister, also wants the workshop on halal certification to be held triannually to expedite the issuance of halal certificates to new applicants or to certificate holders seeking renewals.
At the same time, Zahid said that the procedures for obtaining halal certification should be simplified to avoid inconvenience for applicants, and this can be achieved through cooperation between religious groups, experts, and players in the halal industry.
“We must step out of our silos. We should no longer think inside the box or outside the box. We must act, and think without being restricted by the box, so that we can promptly implement what the prime minister has directed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zahid said to ensure halal certification reform, Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions are offering courses based on Jakim's recommendations, particularly in the halal field.
Through this initiative, he said MARA, through Giatmara, and several other TVET institutions had been also tasked with producing more halal auditors for the industries that produce halal products.
Moreover, he said Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) had also established courses related to the halal industry at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral (PhD) levels.
“Therefore, I call on multinational corporations and large companies, especially those engaged in export-oriented products or manufacturing, to employ halal auditors to ensure that halal standards and procedures are adhered to based on the professional advice and insights of these halal auditors.
“In this regard, I would like to suggest, based on the prime minister's recommendation, that synergistic steps should be taken by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), Halal Development Corporation Bhd (HDC), Jakim, Department of Standards Malaysia, and MARA to ensure prompt coordination,” he said.
Earlier, Zahid also visited exhibition booths at the Halal Sector Forum 2023, and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding involving MARA exhibitors.