No halal cert with Xmas wording? Minister clarifies messages fine as long as not for display

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
·2-min read
Festive wishes are allowed on a product if it is produced not to be displayed on the premise that has been certified halal. — Reuters
Festive wishes are allowed on a product if it is produced not to be displayed on the premise that has been certified halal. — Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — Halal-certified bakeries are not prohibited from taking orders meant for non-Islamic religious celebration provided that the products are not displayed in the premises, minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad clarified today.

Responding to a report over a shop that allegedly refused a customer’s order to have a cake decorated with the wish “Merry Christmas”, the minister in charge of religious affairs said such a message is allowed contrary to the report — provided that it is not for display.

“Any festive wishes is allowed on a product if it is produced not to be displayed on the premise that has been certified halal or on a product with the halal logo,” Zulkifli wrote on his Twitter account.

“There are no specific prohibitions for other religious celebrations other than Islam in the Manual Procedure for Halal Certification (Domestic) 2020.”

“To put it simply if shop B with a Jakim halal certificate bakes a cake with a religious celebration wish for display then it is not allowed, but if shop B had prepared the cake that was ordered by A that has a religious celebration wish it is permitted,” he added.

MalaysiaNow reported that a customer was shocked when he received a cake with “Happy Holidays” when he had requested that it be decorated with the wish “Merry Christmas.”

The report said the store had refused so since in the process of getting a halal certificate, and then quoted an anonymous officer with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) claiming that the halal logo issued by the Halal Management System cannot be used to promote other religions.

Jakim, the federal Islamic affairs department, is the sole authority for all matters related to halal certification.

Zulkifli said Jakim representatives have contacted the MalaysiaNow journalist to explain.

He expressed hope that his explanation would end the controversy. In his concluding tweet, he wished Christians peace and good health.

“I hope my explanation can diffuse any misunderstanding,” he wrote.

“I hope followers of the Christian faith in Malaysia are blessed with peace, good health, happiness and prosperity in the years to come,” he said.