There should be no attempts to cover up or protect any individuals, even VVIPs if they are found to be tied to the activities of a meat cartel that is believed to have been passing off non-certified meat as halal meat in the country for the last four decades.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr. Asyraf Wadji Dusuki said, in addition to the six recommendations made by the youth wing on the next course of action, the authorities should also disclose the names of all companies tied to the syndicate’s activities.
“This is crucial to restoring the trust of the Muslim community in the halal status of imported meat in the market,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page.
Umno Youth had, on Saturday, forwarded six recommendations on how to tackle the issue, including setting up a special investigative team. Asyraf said this was a necessary step to curb corruption and bribery in the country.
“The special team should also involve agencies related to the monitoring and enforcement of halal standards, as well as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police.”
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr. Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who is a former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), yesterday called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be set up on the issue.
Speaking at the Parti Amanah Negara convention yesterday, Mujahid, who is also party vice-president, said if the issue was not dealt with speedily, it could raise questions about the integrity and quality of the halal labels issued by the Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
He said the issue touched on two aspects, the first being the halal status and the second on corruption, which raised larger questions on national security.
“The doubts over this have raised the specter of this cartel, which has dominated the market for a long time.
“This involves a more cancerous issue about national security, bribery, and abuse of the halal label.
“The authorities, namely MACC, should investigate all agencies involved including Jakim, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Customs Department, and even the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry.
“An RCI should be set up to investigate the alleged porous nature of our borders and the integrity of Jakim’s halal label, as well as expose the network involved,” he said.
Mujahid said failure to tackle this issue effectively would lead to questions over Jakim’s credibility and a spillover effect on Malaysia’s status as one of the world’s largest halal hubs.
“The value of the halal industry in Malaysia is US$147 billion, while the projected value of the global halal market in 2023 is US$6.9 trillion.
“It is not only Jakim’s credibility which is at stake here but also other agencies, such as the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department and port police.” So, the matter should be dealt with seriously and swiftly.