KUALA LUMPUR: It is time for the government to re-look plans to enact the Halal Act, following reports that a meat cartel has been smuggling non-certified meat into Malaysia and selling it as halal beef.
Malaysia Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) lead activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said the Act would give more bite to the authorities in implementing more stringent supervision and enforcement on the halal meat supply chain.
He said while there were hundreds of laws in Malaysia, there was no single Act to help the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) address matters pertaining halal issues.
“For instance, how do we monitor lorries used to transport both pork and (halal) meat?
“We have pushed for a Halal Act since 2001 but there has been no update since then. With the Act, we will also be able to promote the halal industry further,” he said at a press conference.
He also lamented the lack of engagement with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in drafting laws and policy-making, saying they have been sidelined by the authorities for years.
On calls for a shakeup within Jakim, Nadzim, in describing the overall system as “rotten”, said there is a pressing need for an overall review of the system, encompassing all enforcement agencies and livestock development.
At the press conference, he also claimed that based on insider information, those in the meat cartel had a hand in policy-making, with the latter pushing against breeding cows locally.
This, he said, has led to Malaysia being heavily reliant on imports.
“We were even approached by a cartel representatives for a meet-up, which we obviously turned down,” he said.
He said the association also welcomed calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be set up on the meat cartel scandal.
In calling for public involvement on the issue, Nadzim said PPIM would set up a task force and urge consumers to participate in seeking methods to address the issue.
“We are just a small NGO and do not have the capability. However, together, with the consumers and netizens, we can push for a change. Consumers are the most important (stakeholders).
“We welcome all stakeholders to join the task force. This is to protect ourselves – we want to protect consumers.”
One of the task force members, Abdul Kareem Said, said it was time for all quarters to join hands in addressing the long overdue problem without solely depending on the government.
“If each one of over 16 million Muslims in Malaysia contribute to a crowdfund, for example, we would be able to establish a movement to ensure that only halal meat is supplied and consumed.
“I was informed by a former officer at the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry that a frozen meat company was charged in the Petaling Jaya Court in 1981 for labeling kangaroo tail as halal meat.
“This problem has been ongoing for a long time and can no longer be ignored,” he said, adding that the association had also received intel from public tip-offs and on-the-ground investigations.
The New Straits Times had on Dec 21 reported that a meat cartel has been bribing senior government officers from government agencies to bring non-certified meat into Malaysia and passing it off as halal-certified products.
It was learnt that the cartel imports meat from non-halal certified slaughterhouses in a number of countries.
It is understood that the cartel has been in operation for more than 40 years.
Article by: New Straits Times
PPIM WANTS HALAL ACT ENACTED FOLLOWING MEAT CARTEL SCANDAL