Local halal industry needs a revamp

The industry has been paying too much attention on promoting halal products, says minister

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

MALAYSIA might be the leading halal hub in the world, but the rest of the world could easily catch up if the local industry players do not move fast enough to take advantage of the various aspects of the segment.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (picture) said Malaysia’s halal industry has been paying too much attention on promoting halal products, while neglecting halal processes that could lead to missed opportunities.

“After six months, I have found out that we are too focused on selling Malaysian halal products.

“We are not looking at the processes of halal certification that could give spin-off effects on investments,” Mohd Redzuan said at the pre-launch of the Malaysia Halal Expo (MHE) 2019 in Cyberjaya yesterday.

Halal processes include those involved in the higher value chain of producing halal products or services.

Mohd Redzuan, who was appointed as the minister in July last year, said Malaysia could catalyse investments in the halal industry by promoting the country’s capability in halal processes.

“Why don’t we do cross-investments, for example? Let’s take udon in Japan. We can bring our investment to Japan to produce udon there for the world market.

“The Japanese may say it’s too expensive to do it in Japan and decide to come to Malaysia instead because we understand the processes better,” he said.

He added that Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) along with other bodies related in halal development, had been creating halal hubs without the right “content”, particularly in bringing the halal industry to new heights.

Malaysia has been developing the halal industry since the early part of the millenium, which resulted in the country’s halal exports reaching RM43 billion in 2017.

HDC has projected the figure to hit RM50 billion by 2020, on the back of the growing Muslim population that is estimated to be at 27% of the world’s population by 2030.

Regardless, other countries — including the not-so-obvious candidates such as China, the US, Japan, Brazil and the UK — are ramping up efforts to develop their own halal industry.

Thomson Reuters Corp’s State of the Global Islamic Economy 2017/18 report stated that the Islamic economy will be worth US$3 trillion (RM12.3 trillion) by 2021, comprising halal food, Islamic finance, halal travel, modest fashion, halal media and recreation, halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Meanwhile, the MHE 2019 will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre between Jan 24 and Jan 26, 2019, to promote Malaysian halal products and services to Japanese retailers and buyers in time for the convening of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The expo is also expected to showcase Malaysia’s halal processes and ingredients, featuring 320 booths by small and medium enterprises.

Moreover, the MHE 2019 is projected to achieve RM50 million in trade value during the three-day event.

The exhibition is envisioned to be the venue for business-matching sessions that involve 20 potential Japanese buyers such as FamilyMart Co Ltd and Ohga Pharmacy Co Ltd.