KUALA LUMPUR: Over 80 per cent or 7,306 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are holders of Malaysia's Halal Verification Certificate at the moment, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar said.
Winding up the debate for his portfolio on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) at Dewan Rakyat today, he said the total number of halal certificate holders for all industry categories was 8,272 companies.
Out of that, 3,270 companies, or 39.53 per cent, are Bumiputera company category certificate holders, he added.
"From several Cabinet meetings and inter-ministerial meetings that have been held, agreements and resolutions have been reached for the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) to play an important role in focusing on industry training and guidance to ensure that the industry is ready to apply for Malaysia's halal verification certificate.
"In an effort to improve the governance of the SME industry, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) always collaborates and engages with all entrepreneur guidance agencies under the ministry that facilitate the aspects of halal certification standards and procedures including halal application procedures," he said.
He said that in addition to facilitation sessions in large groups, Jakim also held focus group sessions with companies facing problems in halal certification either at the pre-application, current and post-halal certification stages.
Mohd Na'im said the department also uses experts from public and private institutes, including Universiti Putra Malaysia's Halal Products Research Institute (HPRI), in various halal-related aspects through collaborations to strengthen the halal ecosystem in the country and abroad.
Prior to this, Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong) when debating the 12MP-MTR suggested that the government improve governance for the industry, especially the SME group in an effort to increase added value to the halal market.
On the proposal to create a specific act to regulate the halal industry, Mohd Na'im said for now the use of existing laws such as the Trade Description Act 2011 (Act 730), Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking of Halal) Order 2011 and Trade Descriptions (Definition of Halal) Order 2011 as well as enactments in the states are still relevant and meet current needs and requirements.