JAKIM, IHI LAUNCH HALAL RESTAURANT GUIDE SEMINARPosted on 03 October 2011
With effect from early 2012, all issuance of Halal certificates in Malaysia will only be carried out by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and state Islamic religious councils. The new regulation will come into force following the highly anticipated amendment to the Trade Description Act 1972 scheduled to be gazetted in January 2012, a move that will solidify JAKIM’s position as the country’s only recognised Halal certification body.
Halal certification, albeit a voluntary exercise, is highly sought after by many companies especially those of food and beverage operators and restaurant owners. This had given a window of opportunity for private bodies to offer “fast-track” certificates of which more often than not are lacking in proper transparency and standards, let alone a laboratory for Halal testing. Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom was reportedly saying that with the amended act, seven private companies which had been issuing halal certificates, would no longer be allowed to do so.
With the prospect of the regulation approaching, JAKIM has been busy mobilising its manpower to speed up the processing of applications and initiated a nationwide campaign through “1Malaysia 1Halal” carnivals, a series of Halal awareness programmes at state level collaborating with state Islamic religious councils. In support of JAKIM’s initiative, IHI Alliance introduced the Halal Restaurant Guide Seminar at the 1Malaysia 1Halal campaign in Negeri Sembilan one year ago where an overwhelming crowd of restaurant owners and food service operators participated at the Paroi Stadium in Seremban.
“We were first targeting restaurants only but soon realised there is a whole other group of food operators being left out. If we combine the number of cafés, canteens and food court operators in schools, universities, hospitals and government offices, looks like this seminar will have a tremendous reach especially when the Act is fully in place,” said Darhim Hashim, CEO of IHI Alliance at the recent launch of the seminar at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) Gombak campus in Kuala Lumpur, July this year.
After Negeri Sembilan, JAKIM and IHI Alliance organised five more seminars in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, and Kelantan. IIUM was the first institute of higher learning that engaged the programme exclusively for its food operators and many are expected to follow suit. "We are collaborating on this seminar to create awareness of comprehensive Halal compliance among the canteen operators especially and the IIUM community in general as well as to encourage them to adopt the Malaysian Halal certificate and to make IIUM a model institution in getting all its food premises as halal certified,” said Dr Noriah Ramli, from the International Institute for Halal Research and Training (InHART), IIUM.
The seminar at IIUM was officiated by Tuan Haji Mohamad Nordin Bin Ibrahim, the Deputy Director General (Policy) of JAKIM after the morning session. Accompanying him onstage was Dr. Hamzah Mohd Salleh, Director of InHART together with Darhim. Also launched during the ceremony was “Halal 2.0: Food Service Operations Guide”, an exclusive publication developed in conjunction with the seminar to educate food service operators on the implementation of Halal assurance system in their daily business.
The success of the Halal Restaurant Guide Seminar is mainly attributed to its proactive format in providing the best platform that bridges JAKIM and the local industry by channeling the relevant information and facilitating their applications. The seminar’s half day afternoon clinic enables participants to interact directly with JAKIM’s officers at designated counters and have all their questions pertaining to Halal certification and its intricacies answered. Restaurant operators are also encouraged to bring all the supporting documents required and submit their application on the spot.
“Apart from guiding the participants on the application procedure, the seminar clinic also facilitates a business meeting between operators and Halal suppliers as well as assisting them in getting trained Muslim workers for their premise,” explained Azudin Khalid, Senior Manager for Standards and Systems Development of IHI Alliance, one of the key personnel of the initiative. For some food operators, difficulties in obtaining the right Halal ingredient supplier and Muslim workers have become a stumbling block in getting their application to succeed, he added.
Year 2012 will see more sessions of Halal Restaurant Guide Seminar to take place in Klang Valley especially in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur. The seminar has also officially been included as one of the core programmes for all future 1Malaysia 1Halal campaigns
Copyright © 2011 International Halal Integrity Alliance. All Rights Reserved.