KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Halal Council, which was reactivated in the wake of the meat cartel scandal, will be temporarily chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said members of the council comprise representatives from several ministries, professionals and experts on halal products and the halal industry.
“The council was set up several years ago, and the meetings were usually chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
“However, the council did not convene any meeting last year. Hence, I have instructed the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) on the matter, and the Prime Minister has been informed.
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“And from my understanding, the council will be chaired temporarily by the Prime Minister,” he told reporters during a virtual press conference today.
Also present were his deputy, Ahmad Marzuk Shaary and Jakim director-general Datuk Abdul Aziz Jusoh.
It was reported yesterday that Zulkifli had instructed Jakim to reactivate the council.
The reactivation of the council, which was abolished under the previous administration, was among the demands made by the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) to the government to protect Muslim consumers in guaranteeing the distribution of halal meat in the country.
“The ministry will forward proposals on ways to elevate matters related to halal products as well as the halal industry.
“Our aim is to turn the council into an umbrella body that could monitor the execution of instructions, as well as policies implemented by Jakim,” Zulkifli said.
Earlier, after delivering his special address during the ministry’s monthly gathering, which was also conducted virtually due to the Movement Control Order (MCO 2.0), Zulkifli also oversaw the soft launch for the recognition of the foreign halal certification body 2021.
The move is among efforts introduced by the ministry to improve procedures involving recognition of foreign halal certification bodies in order to protect the welfare and interests of Muslim consumers in the country.
“I learned that the procedure will be opened for public comments and available in the www.halal.gov.my portal for a period of two weeks.
“This is to allow stakeholders such as foreign halal certification bodies or foreign embassies to provide their views and reviews,” said Zulkifli when delivering a special address to agencies within the ministries.
Zulkifli, in his speech, also urged the agencies not to cite bureaucracy as an excuse to delay assistance to the needy.
“Yes, there are procedures (that agencies have to follow), but do not use them as an excuse that leads to the delay of assistance to the needy.
“There are people out there who are hungry and require assistance. Let us use our good consideration to ensure assistance is delivered immediately to them. This is what has been reminded by the Prime Minister,” he said.
Zulkifli also urged agencies within his ministry to beef up their respective corporate communication units in addressing issues in the mainstream and social media.
“Social media can be the ‘echo chamber’ for us to disseminate authentic information as well as news, subsequently creating a positive perception towards our respective agencies.
“I am sure there are many of you who look up to (philanthropist preacher) Ustaz Ebit Lew. We want the community to know that there are people in our agencies who also have the heart and soul similar to Ustaz Ebit Lew,” he said.