News From : DagangHalal.com (18 Jun 2009)
THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is concerned with recent media reports that 50,000 non-Muslim food outlets across the country have Halal certificates that are not recognised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).
According to the reports, based upon investigations carried out by the authorities, it was found that the fake halal certificates displayed at the premises were purchased from certain quarters for RM5,000 per piece. This was done to entice more Muslims to their outlets.
There is now a flourishing market for these fake certificates as non-Muslim restaurateurs see it as an easy way out of conforming to the regulations and procedures established by Jakim.
According to Senator Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom of the Prime Minister’s Department, only 27 hotels in the country have applied for halal certification from the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) despite various efforts by the Government to encourage more extensive halal certifications. He also said only two hotels were awarded halal certifications throughout this year as opposed to 25 hotels last year. Most of these hotels were of three-star rating.
This is an indication of how lightly the issue of halal or haram is regarded by non-Muslim restaurateurs especially in consideration of Muslim consumers. CAP urges Jakim, HDC and the Islamic State Council (MAIN) to take urgent and pro-active measures to address this issue, especially against non-Muslim restaurateurs which possess fake halal certificates.
There is a need for a comprehensive mechanism whereby all non-Muslim restaurateurs must register with MAIN and their restaurant names displayed on the MAIN website for reference by Muslims. These restaurants should be further monitored periodically by MAIN, Jakim and HDC with the involvement of syariah auditors and food technologists to determine if non-Muslim owned restaurants comply with their halal certifications. The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry should also monitor non-Muslim restaurants for fake halal certificates.
It is time now for the Government to make it mandatory for hotel operators to obtain halal certificates for their premises so that consumer rights are not neglected. Procedures pertaining to the processing and packing of food that is halal and not halal also needs to be monitored on a regular basis as most hotels here use the services of foreign experts who may be unclear on the concept of halal food within the Muslim community.
SM MOHAMED IDRIS,
President, Consumers Association of Penang.
Source: thestar online