On Monday, MACC arrested 4 suspects, including the directors of 2 importing companies to assist the investigation
by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic BERNAMA
THE Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (Mafi) will cooperate in a detailed investigation on the non-halal meat cartel, particularly in probing its agency, the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis).
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested two officers of Maqis’ Johor branch yesterday who are believed to be involved in the meat cartel.
“This is a pressing issue and we are urging a detailed investigation on this matter to get to the bottom of it as the ministry wants to know the source of the cartel and how we can resolve it.
“We hope the authorities will investigate anyone believed to be involved so they can be charged,” Mafi Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said at the launch of the [email protected] in Kajang yesterday.
Kiandee also reassured that only meat produced by abattoirs recognised by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) will be approved for imports to Malaysia.
“The imported meats in Malaysia were processed through procedures approved by DVS and Jakim,” he said.
On Monday, MACC arrested four suspects, including the directors of two importing companies to assist the investigation of illegal activities.
The suspects were remanded for four days, which ended yesterday, and have been released on MACC bail of RM10,000 each.
The meat cartel issue was uncovered nationwide last November as Sinar Harian reported that a freight company has been irresponsibly importing meat products that are not certified by Jakim, citing anonymous sources.
The Malay daily reported that “insiders” were stationed at several international ports in the country and would help in falsifying the cargoes’ documents.
The report had led to a warehouse being raided in Senai, Johor, by the police who seized 1,500 tonnes of imported frozen meat worth RM30 million.
Police said based on the size of the seizure, the cartel operative was not only operating in Malaysia but was involved in a wider international connection.
Previously, Kiandee said Approved Permits of meat distributors will be revoked if they are found to be violating the import regulations set by the government for frozen meat and poultry brought into the country.
He added that Maqis has been enhancing its inspections in the efforts to curb the smuggling activities of meat and poultry products.
In 2019, the General Operations Force disbanded 30 smuggling attempts involving livestock and frozen poultry along the border of Sungai Golok and was handed to Maqis for further action.
Last year, Maqis also found an average of 70kg of meat transported in each of the five vehicles plying the green lane at the Sultan Iskandar Building, the Customs, Immiration and Quarantine Complex in Johor Baru.