Malaysia faces a daunting challenge to be the global halal hub due to lack of production and export activities of halal goods and services to overseas.
Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ir Hamim Samuri said while Malaysia exported a total of RM32 billion halal products last year, the amount, however, is relatively small for a country to be a global hub.
“The awareness on the need for halal products among Muslims is rapidly increasing and in Malaysia, we (the Ministry) create campaigns in the efforts to further enhance consumers’ level of awareness and knowledge about halal products, especially among the producers,” he said.“We need to immediately find a way to overcome this problem because the halal market is large and expanding fast, and should provide opportunities for operators and manufacturers in Malaysia.
Datuk Ir Hamim was addressing this issue in a “live” interview programme ‘Space Talk’ on Bernama TV, Astro Channel 502 on Wednesday night.
He said halal products are also seen as a highly important pulling factor in attracting Muslim visitors as a country is easily to be the focus when it is known to have easy access to halal products. The government and the relevant agencies are making a continuous effort to increase the production of halal products in line with the objectives stated under the Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3), which aims to make Malaysia a global halal hub.
However, he added, the effort requires the participation and interests of companies and manufacturers in Malaysia to produce halal products and market them abroad.
In the same interview program, Secretary in Malay Consultative Council (MPM), Datuk Dr Hassan Mad, said the ability of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia to meet the demands of the huge halal industry is doubtful.
Hence, he said, industry leaders need to be identified to lead SME in producing or marketing halal products, at the same time, increase the capacity for the production of halal products.
He said Government-linked companies can take the role of being an industry leader in which they buy halal products manufactured by SMEs and market them abroad. “For example, companies such as Tabung Haji or Malaysian Palm Oil Board. This is because large companies have the ability to market products and export them, compared to SMEs which have limited resources such as capital or operating costs,” he said.