The Halal Development Corporation Bhd (HDC) has set a bold benchmark of US$100 billion export value for Malaysia's halal products by 2030.
This is by leveraging the agency's four core products — training, consultancy, Halal Park and Halal Integrated Platform (HIP).
HDC chief executive officer Hairol Ariffein Sahari said Malaysia could potentially add US$20 billion in export value annually (from US$10 billion currently) through the creation of more value, new export markets and development of the domestic halal ecosystem.
He said Malaysia could further tap the global halal market worth US$3 trillion.
"With the rising demand for the halal products among non-Muslim consumers, the market size is expected to increase to US$30 trillion.
"This shows demand for halal products goes beyond religion, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when quality and safety are major concerns," he told the New Straits Times recently.
Hairol Ariffein said Malaysia had a trade deficit in halal products as the country's imports stood at US$25 billion, compared with exports of US$10 billion.
"We hope to balance our trade for halal products by reaching US$100 billion in exports by 2030. Hence, we aim to increase Malaysia's halal exports and promote more investment in the domestic halal industry ecosystem.
"The domestic market for halal products is worth US$70 billion and it is expected to reach US$150 billion by 2030," he said.
HDC also targets about 15 per cent contribution from halal products to Malaysia's gross domestic product by 2030, up from 7.4 per cent last year.
Based on HDC's study in 2017, there were more than 90 Halal logos attached to various products in Malaysia, indicating that the country was a net importer.
The main catalyst to drive halal export will come from the HIP, an online marketplace for 200,000 small and domestic enterprises (SMEs) in the halal ecosystem.
SMEs could perform intra and inter-trade on the HIP online platform, he said.
With its official launch expected in the first quarter of next year, the HIP will facilitate companies looking to grow their business capability and capacity while being backed by the halal certification from the Malaysia Islamic Development Department.
"We aim to have about 5,000 companies in HIP this year with about 20 partners comprising government agencies and service providers such as banks, insurers and logistics players.
Once a company gets its halal certification, HDC will then start promoting its products as Malaysia's "premium" halal produce and help market them overseas.
He said the partners among government agencies included Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade), the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), National Productivity Council (NPC) and National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun).
"SMEs can also operate within the Halal Park ecosystem.
"There will be financial institutions such as Islamic banks, credit guarantee corporations, and insurance and takaful companies to assist the SMEs with financing," he added.
Hairol Ariffein said through HIP, HDC would try to amalgamate all the components in the halal ecosystem virtually while adding value to the companies' capability, branding and capacity.
"Initially, we will work with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to certify Muslim-friendly products in their hyper malls, convenience stores and markets, followed by China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
"The plan is to promote the imports of Malaysia's halal products. The trades will be done online through the HIP.
"We want to create our own marketplace where we can promote our halal products and services."
Hairol Ariffein said Malaysia had a diverse range of products, including food and beverage (F&B), personal care, medical devices, cosmetics and logistics, that would benefit from a global halal product ecosystem.
"The F&B segment grows about seven to eight per cent each year. We see good demand for non-food products, too, and not to forget, the trend now is Muslim-friendly tourism and healthcare services.
"This is a good business for Malaysia as demand for halal products in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China is high due to huge influx of Muslim travellers," he said.
As the central coordinator that promotes participation and facilitates the growth of industry players in the development of Malaysia's halal ecosystem, HDC said it would announce its revised Halal Industry Masterplan 2030 by early December.
"There are a lot of transformation impacting our previous master plan. We need reengage with the stakeholders.
"Our four core services are more structured as we open our own market space and marketplace to commercialise our halal products and services, ideally from HIP members," he said.
HDC is hopeful of securing an additional RM550 million investments from foreign and domestic investors this year, even as the Movement Control Order had affected business negotiations.
"So far, we have secured a total of RM370 million investments domestically. Before the pandemic, Malaysia had collectively secured about RM1.5 billion in new investments into the Halal Parks yearly," he said.
The Halal Park is a community of manufacturing and service businesses located on common property to preserve the integrity of halal products.
HDC has so far received RM15 billion in new investments for the Halal Parks since the first one was established in 2007.
"We have about 14 premises within the Halal Park ecosystem in Malaysia. They are home to 60 multinational companies and 300 SMEs," he said.
Halmas accreditation will be given to Halal Park operators that successfully complied with the requirements and guidelines stipulated under the HDC-designated Halal Park development.
It is also a mark of excellence for those parks with noteworthy qualities; namely production of halal products with the highest quality, integrity and safety.
With the Halmas status, operators, industry players and logistics service providers will be able to enjoy incentives to help existing and would-be players in the halal industry.
"A total of 81,000ha have been designated for the setting up of Halal Parks nationwide, of which 31,160ha are still available for investors and HIP members."
Hairol Ariffein said HDC had aimed for RM42 billion in exports this year.
However, he said the Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted the supply chain as production was not at full capacity, resulting in delay in delivery.
"Digital transformation can improve the overall supply chain of halal products. We hope the situation will get better next year."
Malaysia has 8,000 companies with halal-certification, among which 1,800 are exporters and 1,300 are SMEs.
"There are about 1.3 million businesses in Malaysia and about 90 per cent are SMEs, with 200,000 of them involved in halal-related businesses."
He said HDC wanted to increase the number of halal-certified companies in Malaysia, adding that it would assist the 200,000 companies that were deemed "halal" in getting their official halal certificates.
"We need to access the ability, capability and capacity to help them to become export-ready SMEs. With proper consultation services, HDC is positive that halal certification can be obtained by these SMEs within 30 working days, " he said.
"We plan to have between 3,000 and 4,000 quality applicants every year," he said.