HDC: Malaysia’s halal industry boosts nation’s economic growth

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by BERNAMA

THE importance and quality of the country’s halal industry have brought it into becoming one of the nation’s main engines of economic growth, said Halal Development Corp (HDC) CEO Hairol Ariffein Sahari (picture).

“With the industry making up some 15% of Malaysia’s GDP, its role and contribution in protecting the lives and health of every citizen is made all the more glaring and crucial today.

“The halal food and beverage (F&B) sector already account for over 85% of the country’s total halal exports, including the ingredients sector,” he said at the soft launch of the World Halal Business Conference (WHBC) 2021 recently.

Meanwhile, halal cosmetics and personal care, industrial chemicals and halal pharmaceuticals make up a combined 13.1% of the country’s total halal exports in the first quarter of the year (1Q21).

Hairol addressed the troubles and challenges faced by halal businesses, stating that from the special survey on “Effects of Covid-19 on the Economy and Companies/Business Firms — Round 1”, results recorded that some 67.8% of Malaysian businesses did not make any sales during the first imposed Movement Control Order (MCO) from April 10 until May 1, 2020.

“In terms of business sustainability, a staggering half (around 53.4%) of the total 4,094 businesses were only able to survive one to two months during the MCO.

“For the record, Bank Negara Malaysia has recently revised Malaysia’s growth projection downwards, to 3% to 4% for the full year of 2021, against an earlier estimate of 6% to 7.5%,” he said.

This is in line with the World Bank’s actions, which lowered the country’s projected economic growth from 6% to 4.5% for the year 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the world since late 2019 has dampened efforts for more industries to be competitive in efforts to achieve the global halal market goal by 2030, which was projected to be the year in which the halal industry market size in Malaysia to increase by US$113.2 billion (RM474.53 billion).

The WHBC 2021 will address challenges in the halal sector that have led to subsequent transformations within the industry following the outbreak, while also exploring changes and opportunities.

Several initiatives have been offered to address the consumer demands for safe and hygienic products, including the introduction of the HDC’s digital platform Halal Integrated Platform and services such as Halal Parks, Halal Training Institute, Halal Consultancy and Advisory, and the Halal Knowledge Centre.

This is due to the rise of digital commerce, as consumers shift to online platforms to acquire products and services.

The WHBC 2021 webinar series will also include a talk on digitalisation titled “Post-Recovery Through Digitalisation”, to which HDC COO Adly Mohamed concluded that it is a must-have and no longer a nice or good-to-have for businesses.

Other panels will include how to stay resilient in the global economy in the light of the pandemic, the country’s experience in developing Islamic Finance and Shariah-compliant unlisted market, the halal industry’s contribution to sustainability and poverty eradication as well as creating demand for halal emerging sectors.

The WHBC 2021 will commence on Sept 9, 2021, to discuss the role and distribution of the halal industry towards global economic recovery, as the well-established global thought leadership platform to bring communities together within the industry’s ecosystem.

The annual conference expects 3,000 delegates from 35 countries with representatives from various sectors to attend the event, which will be held fully online for the first time.