Author: Kharleez Zubin
In view of the large scale abuse of the ‘Halaal’ logo by unscrupulous businesses and the absence of regulations to prevent such abuse, laws are being amended to punish the culprits.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim, told Parliament that presently, action cannot be taken against companies or individuals who violated the Halaal logo usage.
“Because of the growing demand for Halaal products, many companies and individuals are using Halaal logos unauthorised by Department of Islamic Development (Jakim). However, since Jakim has no enforcement power, the Trade Description Act 1972 under the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry is being amended to haul to court those who abuse the Halaal logo.
“With the amendments, ministry officials will be empowered under the law to act against individuals or companies using imitation Halaal logos.”
Once the Trade Description Act is amended, Jakim officers will be seconded to the ministry so they can determine if there is an abuse of the Halaal logo.
Mashitah, replying to Taib Azamudden Md Taib (Pas–Baling), also said that since the Halaal certification was moved back to Jakim, Halaal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) has no more authority to issue such certificates.
HDC is a government-linked company wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance incorporated and tasked to coordinate the overall development of the Halaal industry in Malaysia.
On March 18, The Malay Mail front-paged a report that fraudsters, who made millions in a computer-vendor scam several years ago, were cashing in on the thriving Halaal products and services business.
The computer-vendor scam group re-surfaced two years ago as the government has been promoting the country as a global Halaal hub. The group had remained on the sidelines since the scam was exposed in 2003.
The Paper That Cares learnt that the fraudsters who are known to drive luxury cars with double-digit registration plates cheated at least two individuals. Most of the cars, including a Ferrari, are registered under a company based in Selangor and to a woman from Perak.
It is not known how many have been conned or the losses involved as no police reports have been lodged so far. It is believed the victims were afraid to face public embarrassment if they reported to the police that they fell for the scam.