KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — There is no need to introduce a new halal logo for Muslim-made products, as announced by the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Corporation (Risda) chairman Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin recently, but the origins of a halal product from either a Muslim or non-Muslim company must still be distinguished, Perkasa said today.
Perkasa’s Islamic affairs bureau chairman Dr Amini Amir Abdullah said the key thing was for locally-made products granted the halal status to comply with the requirements of Islamic law and as certified by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim).
“I don’t think we need another logo because Jakim’s logo is already recognised locally and internationally,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today, adding that Jakim’s halal requirements should be enhanced with loopholes removed and with improved enforcement.
In a statement earlier today, Amini Amir had said that Perkasa feels that “the time has come for us to differentiate all halal products whether they have been produced by Muslims or non-Muslims” complying with Jakim’s halal certification standards, noting the need to do so amid non-Muslims’ alleged rush to obtain the halal logo from Jakim.
Amini Amir, however, told Malay Mail Online that distinguishing Muslim-made and non-Muslim made products is not meant to be discriminatory, but would offer Muslim consumers — especially those conscious of products with halal status from non-Muslim companies — freedom of choice.
“It is not a discrimination. It is for the sake of Muslims who are strictly following Islamic teaching,” he said, citing as an example how some Muslims would be concerned when buying from a non-Muslim company that manufactured both alcoholic drinks forbidden to Muslims and halal drinks.
With the same requirements by Jakim for halal certification applicable to Muslim and non-Muslim companies, there would also be no discrimination in the process of obtaining a halal logo, he said.
While insisting that the same halal logo by Jakim be used for all halal products, he disagreed with the use of phrases such as “Muslim company” and “non-Muslim company” on the packaging to show the products’ origins.
When pressed on how consumers would be able to tell if a halal product was Muslim-made without overt displays on the packaging such as through a different logo or origin details, Amini Amir did not specify any plausible method but instead said Jakim should play its role in seeking a solution by having discussions with Muslim and non-Muslim manufacturers.
Even if current laws were amended to allow a new halal logo to be introduced for Muslim-made products, Amini Amir believed that there would not be unfair competition between Muslim companies and non-Muslim companies as consumers nowadays would buy based on the products’ quality.
He conceded that non-Muslim companies may be at a disadvantage when it comes to food, drinks and cosmetics, but also noted their alleged monopoly in certain products in these areas and Muslim consumers’ acceptance of such goods.
He also believed that having an additional logo denoting Muslim-made origin would not give a Muslim company an edge over another Muslim company, as the Jakim-issued halal logo on both companies’ products would be “sufficient” for Muslim consumers.
Last Saturday, the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Corporation (Risda) chairman Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin reportedly said a new halal logo would be issued by the Malaysia International Institute of Islamic Cooperation (Ikiam) for Muslim-made halal products, noting that this will aid Muslim entrepreneurs and clear misgivings over the veracity of halal products.
He had reportedly said that too few Muslim entrepreneurs applied for halal certification at only 28 per cent against 72 per cent non-Malay entrepreneurs, while noting that only 11 per cent registered with the government’s Halal Industry Development Corporation to export their products are Muslim companies and the rest are non-Muslim companies.