KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Former deputy agriculture minister Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said ‘meat cartels’ do exist and they are mainly controlled by non-Bumiputeras.
In an interview with Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Tajuddin who was the deputy minister from 2013-2018, said the cartels had been operating for decades and had refused to share the billion-ringgit business with Bumiputera companies.
He said he had during his time suggested to the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and the Veterinary Department to hire more officers to monitor closely the halal requirements in the country and in the source countries.
The Pasir Salak MP told FMT that he had taken several measures in the past in an attempt to break the monopoly so that a few overseas cartels did not supply only two to three local non-Bumiputera companies.
“Meat cartels exist. These companies control the export market from India and Australia, and if there are new players they will undercut the price or do all sorts of things to keep the monopoly,” he said adding that he had worked with new companies from India who had agreed to supply meat to Bumiputera companies.
Tajuddin said if effective monitoring processes had been in place, questions on halal certification would not have arisen.
“It has to be monitored on a regular basis and not after long intervals. Anything can happen (if left unchecked). The halal status may be compromised,” he was quoted saying.
Tajuddin said local and foreign cartels worked together to ensure new players are unable to enter the lucrative market.
He added that he had also tried to impose a new halal certified slaughterhouse to cater for the supply.
Allegations of a giant network selling imported meat passed off as halal with the help of corrupt government officials from multiple agencies triggered widespread alarm in the country in November, last year.
The cartel used proxy companies to prevent any direct link from being made to its leaders.
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