High-ranking officials from Malaysia’s halal certification authority are facing serious allegations, as per documents procured by Asia Sentinel, casting a cloud over the nation’s acclaimed Islamic documentation practices. The purported irregularities are causing disquiet among Malaysia’s substantial Muslim consumer base, eliciting concerns about the authenticity of the halal meat they are purchasing. The allegations imply that profit motives may have led individuals to compromise their integrity, tarnishing the reputation of Malaysia’s once-esteemed halal certification system.
Central to these claims is Dr. Sirajuddin Suhaimee, a prominent figure within the halal certification department, who is reportedly being considered for the role of director general.
According to the documents, officials from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, colloquially known as JAKIM, have been accused of meddling in the affairs of an authorized halal certifier. The allegations include abuse of power and the unwarranted dismissal of an Australian certifier.
In a formal complaint filed in December 2017 by Russell Summer from Conlan Cummings Lawyers in Melbourne, accusations were brought against Junee Abattoir in New South Wales on behalf of four former employees. Junee Abattoir is a significant player in the meat processing industry, handling over 10,000 lambs weekly for both local and export markets.
The complaint suggests that the abattoir allegedly neglected Syariah laws that prohibit halal meat from mingling with non-halal meat. According to the former employees, halal and non-halal carcasses were regularly combined to fulfill orders and then dispatched to Malaysia and local buyers as halal meat. Furthermore, they claimed that animals were often dead before halal slaughter due to stunning, a practice that contravenes Syariah law.
Adding fuel to the fire, the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia Inc (SICHMA), an authorized halal certifier under JAKIM, is said to have been cognizant of these deviations. One of SICHMA’s halal auditors, Mohamad Adil Rahman, allegedly pressed for the meat to be certified despite non-compliance with halal procedures. Moreover, the complaint shed light on a litany of labor rights violations, including withheld wages and unfair dismissals.
These actions have been condemned as significant human rights violations in Islam, with the hadith, “Pay the worker his wages before his sweat has dried,” underlying the gravity of these transgressions. It raises questions about JAKIM’s and halal auditors’ commitment to upholding the integrity of the halal certification.
Mohamed Adil Rahman’s involvement is further complicated by his multiple affiliations. He is reportedly a regular presence at Junee Abattoir, serves as the director of the Global Halal Trade Centre, and is involved with the Oceania Halal Academy in Australia. The latter, a strategic partner with JAKIM, has been allegedly favored by Dr. Sirajuddin Suhaimee for several training and certification assignments in China over Malaysian counterparts.
The Islamic Co-ordinating Council of Victoria (ICCV), a non-profit halal certifier, submitted a written complaint to Minister Mujahid Yusof Jawa and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), alleging that Dr. Sirajuddin Suhaimee abused his powers. The complaint accuses him of unduly interfering in the internal affairs of ICCV, influencing staffing decisions in the halal certification process, and unjustly revoking ICCV’s status as a JAKIM-accredited halal certifier. Legal action against JAKIM by ICCV is anticipated.
The alleged misdeeds extend to Sirajuddin being accused of deceptive practices, favoritism, and facilitating
On November 5, the minister claimed that imposters rather than JAKIM officials were responsible for corruption in the certification process. Sources who asked to remain nameless for fear of retribution, however, told Asia Sentinel that Fuziah had been made aware of allegations against Sirajuddin but is seeking an honorable way out for the director rather than put him under investigation.
However, independently of the minister and deputy minister, MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said the allegations of corruption within JAKIM had come to the MACC’s attention and that she will make further announcements as investigations progress.