KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has called on the government to form a special task force to tackle the issues that have arisen following the discovery of a ‘meat cartel’ recently.
Taking to Facebook yesterday, he also said the government has to face the scandal head on to clear up doubts among the Muslim community over the halal status of meat in the country.
“Establish a SPECIAL TEAM involving various enforcement agencies in the halal industry to identify the masterminds of the cartel syndicate and take firm action with no compromise,” he wrote in a post as one of his six recommendations to the government.
Asyraf added that the authorities should revoke the licence of any company implicated in the scandal after investigations wrap to stop the meat from reaching consumers.
He added that the government should revive the Malaysia Halal Council to rebuild confidence in the country’s halal certification process.
“Public concern and doubts about the halal status and food safety of halal imported meat in the market, following sensational news reports, including the mixing of halal and haram meat, must be addressed immediately by the government,” he posted on his Facebook account.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that senior officers from at least 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 by the New Straits Times 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, and 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 Jakim and the Veterinary Services Department.
Similarly the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department, Customs Department and port police are in charge of managing the supplies once they enter Malaysian ports, and it is believed officials from that agency are also implicated.
Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri addressed the issue in a statement on Thursday, saying Jakim would take the necessary action within its scope of authority once investigations have completed.
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