By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
MALAYSIA Halal Council is expected to facilitate the collaboration between multinational companies (MNCs) and smaller businesses that would boost exports of local halal products.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the chairman of the council, said that the local halal industry still lags in export particularly among the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-companies.
“To spur the growth of Malaysia’s halal economy, both SMEs and MNCs have to make initiatives to collaborate in the production of halal products or services.
“This is possible if MNCs are more flexible in opening the doors to proposed collaborations from the potential smaller businesses,” he said at the Halal Industry National Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid said while an increasing number of partnerships between the two parties such as vendor development programme are already seen, such initiatives could be further extended.
He added that ministries and gover n ment bodies involved in the country’s halal development will also assist in identifying and reaching out to the potential MNCs.
“We will gather the respective organisations to come up with a solution for the industry to leverage on the partnership.
“With the support of the government, Malaysia has always been upfront in implementing market-moving decisions for the industry to show that halal agenda is not a rhetoric goal for us,” Ahmad Zahid said.
According to Halal Industry Development Corp, the country’s halal industry comprises more than 6,000 SMEs and micro-companies, or 90% of the total halal registered
However, the smaller capital businesses only contribute 20% of the nation’s halal exports, which stood at RM42.18 billion in 2017, with a major portion derived from the MNCs’ contributions.
Ahmad Zahid said building a halal economy centre in Malaysia will further solidify the nation’s status as global reference point.
“In building an economy hub for halal industry in the country, similar to the way we structured Cyberjaya is perhaps something that could help us spearhead the industry,” he said.
In addition, Ahmad Zahid said the intergovernmental collaborations between local ministries had also dismantled stereotypes and silo mentality that seems to exist within the country.
The government is always endorsing partnerships between ministries in various types of collaborations that would be beneficial to the industry.
Perceptions that religious aspects would contradict scientific views should also be debunked.
“As Malaysia is also measuring halal standards through the scientific aspects, the industry needs the support of related bodies to boost confidence among foreign investors that lack the halal industry knowledge.
“For that, collaborations between Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and several scientific-based government bodies in developing comprehensive halal standards had received good reviews from industry players,” Ahmad Zahid added.