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Monday, September 26, 2016

'By Muslims' halal logo a discrimination, says activist

The proposed new logo specifically for products produced by Muslims is a form of discrimination, says a consumer rights activist.

Former Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) deputy president Mohamed Shaani Abdullah told Malaysiakini there would be no fair play in trade if a racial and religious slant is introduced into a policy.

"I don't see any basis to the (new) proposal... You are actually creating class division.

"You can't create discrimination, and this (new proposal) is a form of discrimination," said Shaani, who now serves as the Society for Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) assistant secretary.

He said the existing halal certification of the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) is awarded based on a regulated standard, recognised both in Malaysia and around the world.

"Any certification must comply with the universal standard. In this case, you can check the MS-1500 on halal food (Malaysian Standards 1500).

"Just to claim the producer is Malay-Muslim is not enough," Shaani said when met on the sidelines of a forum in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Asked about the potential impact of the proposal on prices, Shaani said producers and manufacturers across the board have increased their prices, with or without any new certification.

"Anyone who wants to compete in business must comply with existing standards," he stressed.

New logo planned by Risda, Ikiam

The Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) chairperson Zahidi Zainul Abidin on Saturday said it would be launching a new halal logo - together with the Malaysia Institute of International Islamic Cooperation (Ikiam) - some time early next year.

Zahidi said the new logo was necessary to distinguish between halal products made by Muslims and non-Muslims, and that it would go hand in hand with the halal logo issued by Jakim.

Responding to this, Jakim's director-general Othman Mustafa said all products must first be certified halal by the federal agency as well as all state religious authorities.

"If Ikiam and Risda proceed with using a new halal logo for Muslim-made products (without Jakim's approval), it is an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 2011 (Halal certification and identification) Order," Utusan Malaysia today reported Othman saying.

He also added that Jakim would be in contact with Risda for further details on the proposal.

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