KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 ― A top officer from the country’s federal Islamic agency has reminded Muslims today against producing allegations and comments on the halal meat scandal that do not come with strong backing or evidence.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) Deputy Director-General (Operations), Datuk Abdul Aziz Jusoh was reported saying the issue is still under investigation, and any negative comments may adversely affect trust in Malaysia’s halal certification at both domestic and international levels.
“This can indirectly create anxiety among the community and can affect the importers and operators of the country's meat industry who have obtained valid halal certification.
“The Government of Malaysia has established that the importation of meat and meat products is only allowed from abattoir or processing plants approved by the Veterinary Services Department and Jakim,” he was quoted saying in Al Hijrah Online.
He also said that the issue is still under investigation by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, and any comments about the issue could affect the credibility of the investigation.
Aziz added that meat and meat products imported into Malaysia must also be certified halal from overseas halal certification bodies recognised by Jakim.
“Importers must also submit a health certificate from the veterinary authority of the exporting country and import approval permits from the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department before the meat and meat products are allowed to enter the market,” he reportedly said.
Instead, Aziz added that anyone with any information regarding the halal meat issue and its subsequent abuse of power should be immediately reported to the relevant authorities so that action can immediately be taken to those responsible.
Yesterday, New Straits Times reported that senior officers from no fewer than four government agencies are believed to be working hand-in-glove with a cartel specialising in bringing non-certified meat, including kangaroo and horse, into Malaysia and passing it off as halal-certified products.
Unnamed sources were quoted as claiming these senior officers, entrusted with ensuring that halal standards are upheld, have instead received bribes and sexual services, in exchange for ensuring the cartel’s operations go undetected.
It is understood that the cartel has been in operation for more than 40 years.
The cartel is said to import meat from non-halal-certified slaughterhouses in countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Spain and Mexico.
The only countries that have been certified by the Malaysian authorities for the import of halal meat are Australia, Argentina, Brazil, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, with imports handled by the Malaysia Islamic Development Department and Veterinary Services Department.
The Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department, Customs Department and port police, meanwhile, are in charge of managing the supplies once they enter Malaysian ports.
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