Category: Opinion Written by Syarif Hidayat and edited by Ismet Rauf
Malaysia as an International Halal Food Hub
by Syarif Hidayat*
What is Halal? Halal is an Arabic word referring to what is permissible under Islamic law. In most cases, halal is used to refer to food that is deemed permissible to consume for Muslims. To be deemed halal, the ingredients and method of production must be thoroughly checked to ensure they adhere to Islamic dietary laws.
Muslims are allowed to consume what is Halalan Thoyyiban ("halal" and "good" food and drink.) (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Al Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqara, Verse:168 " O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitân (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.”.) The food that is, what is pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing, and pleasing to the taste. In general, everything is allowed (halal) except what has been specifically forbidden.
“They ask thee what is lawful to them (as food): say: Lawful unto you are (all) things good and pure: and what ye have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah; eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it: and fear Allah; for Allah is swift in taking account.” (Al Qur'an, Surah Al-Maeda, Verse 4)
Eating is a matter of faith in Islam. Muslim dietary practise is fundamentally about obeying God Almighty Allah.
All practising Muslim believers obey God Almighty by eating the allowed foods (halal) and avoiding the forbidden foods (haram) which are mentioned in the Qur’an and in the sayings of the final Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
International Halal Hub
Why Malaysia? Malaysia has aspirations to become a global hub for the production and trade of Halal products and services, as outlined in the 2006 Third Industrial Master Plan (IMP3), according to the official website of Malaysian Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC): www.hdcglobal.com And as a modern Islamic country at the forefront of economic development, Malaysia has unparalleled potential.
With a progressive living and operating environment boasting political stability and consistent economic growth, Malaysia is fast becoming a business hub of choice for all industries. Further, Malaysia has unique advantages in developing and promoting the Halal products and services industry for many reasons:
Malaysia is a progressive Islamic country. It is business-friendly to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, making it a Halal industry advantage. As an economically thriving nation, the Malaysian economy registered a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 4.6 per cent for 2008, fueled by domestic demand and continued expansion in private and public consumption.
In 2008, its total trade grew 6.8 per cent from RM1.11 trillion to RM1.19 trillion. Its exports increased by 9.6 per cent to RM663.51 billion, while imports escalated 3.3 per cent to RM521.5 billion, resulting in a trade surplus for the eleventh consecutive year valued at RM142.01 billion. Furthermore, the economy is expected to record positive growth rate in 2009.
Malaysia has today become an export-driven economy spurred on by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries. From January to September 2008, the services sector recorded the highest growth at 7.9%.
Racking up its global competitiveness, Malaysia has moved up the value chain to a high-technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive powerhouse, incorporating design as well as research and development activities. Therefore, From Halal product traceability to Islamic Finance facilities, Malaysia is able to provide end-to-end Halal services.
Furthermore, Malaysia strategically located country within Asia Pacific, providing easy in-roads emerging markets in Asia and a total population larger than 500 million.
And Halal business owners will enjoy easier trade and market access to member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), judging by the fact that its Chairman is a Malaysian representative.
Government and People Talent Support
Moreover, Malaysia has a pro-business government, offering tax and other investor incentives. In a bid to create a conducive operating environment, the government has introduced policies and an efficient institutional infrastructure to develop industry – Halal or otherwise.
An industry without talent, is simply said, asset-poor. The Malaysian talent pool is rich with young, educated and productive workers with skills necessary for science- and service-based industries.
With Malaysia being a multi-racial and multi-lingual country made up of predominantly Malays, Indians and Chinese, Halal business owners will find no shortage of bilingual talent skilled to enrich trade relations in countries such as China.
The topography of Malaysia's economic landscape is made up of a network of well-maintained highways and railways that links to efficient seaports and world-class international airports.
With Malaysia's commitment to industrial development and free trade, the government has established five economic growth corridors, in addition to over 200 industrial estates or parks and 13 free industrial zones. And as part of HDC's initiatives, Malaysia is also home to one of the world's first Halal Parks.
What and Why HDC?
Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) is a developmental body that is unique in its own right. The Malaysian government established HDC in September 2006 because it realised the potential of the halal business. It also understood the country’s unique position and strengths would enable HDC to spearhead the overall development of the halal industry. HDC is the only Malaysian government- mandated company in the world tasked with coordinating and developing the national halal industry.
As a brand, HDC is business friendly, driven to make things happen, steered by experts delivering world-class know-how and collaborative by working towards a win-win situation. HDC’s promise is to help businesses access new markets both locally and globally.
For businesses, it means halal is the avenue for new markets with the help of HDC and its agencies. For consumers, it means that with the growth of the halal industry, they will have increased awareness and better choices on halal goods. And finally, for the government, with new markets reached through halal, it translates into economic growth.
The halal industry encompasses many sectors cutting across the entire halal value chain. HDC thus has multiple roles to play in the entire chain.
These include managing the stakeholders’ interest by:
-Creating business opportunities
HDC is the central implementation agency for key industry development initiatives and working with authorities and businesses. It promotes industries relating to halal, liaising with and assisting businesses and investors. It also manages and distributes government funding for the halal industry.
-Coordinating national initiatives
HDC is the referral agency for businesses and agencies involved in the Halal industry while understanding their specific roles and needs. It is also coordinator and chair for halal-related agency activities and organises discussion sessions.
-Communicating value to consumers
HDC provides support to businesses by providing branding and promotion of halal products and industries. It also provides training and consultancy services to support halal certification.
HDC also focuses on the following elements of the halal value chain:
1.Feed and Farm management
5.Research & Development and Innovation
7.Advertising & Promotions
In order to be more effective in developing the halal industry, HDC is focusing on core clusters that will add significantly to the economy. These clusters include specialty processed food, ingredients, livestock, pharmaceuticals and personal care. Development of these areas is key to realising a more holistic halal ecosystem. In order to realise this goal, HDC works hand in hand with all the relevant government ministries and agencies.
On the international front, it is the first point of contact and a key reference centre as well as providing stewardship and direction through the extremely varied array of sectors in the halal industry. This includes the processed food, beverage and livestock sectors to the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and personal care sectors and also the Islamic banking and logistics sectors.
An important factor is the role HDC plays in capacity development as the halal industry heads onward into the 21st century and the challenges that lie in store for it.
This includes strengthening and streamlining compliance, marketing, communication and response time in all sectors. To constantly embrace change for sustained growth is the methodology HDC consciously employs.
At home, HDC has been mandated by the Malaysian government to assist, in particular, the small and medium-sizes enterprises (SMEs). HDC works hand in hand with all the relevant government ministries and its agencies, especially the Ministry of International Trade and Industries (MITI), for leverage and achieving desired results.
The help to SMEs are mainly in the form of tax incentives, funding, licensing, skills upgrading plus marketing and promotional expertise. To sum it up, when it comes to everything halal, HDC plays the leading role in shaping and guiding its ascendency both at home and abroad.
Malaysia to standardize halal standards
A Malaysia-based group is drafting halal standards to give Muslim countries a framework to regulate a $2 trillion global industry ranging from food to finance. The global halal industry is regarded as a vast but difficult market with the substantial Muslim population outweighed by the use of disparate sharia standards, differing levels of development across Muslim countries and a lack of regulatory infrastructure.
The International Halal Integrity Alliance is working on guidelines relating to the use of sharia-compliant pharmaceuticals, finance and processed food which would be completed by year-end, its chief executive officer Darhim Hashim said. “We, as Muslims, are not in control of the supply chain,” he said on the sidelines of a halal forum.
“We cannot say that we can accept everything that comes into the country is halal so at the very basic level is some kind of import regulation. That in return leads to a standard.”
Darhim said the alliance has published seven other standards which include the regulation of sharia-compliant restaurants, cosmetics, lab testing and animal slaughtering which have been ratified by the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a grouping of 56 Islamic countries.
The alliance’s members include certification bodies from Europe, India, the Phillipines, Cambodia and Australia.
The halal industry has been overshadowed by the Islamic finance sector in recent years as the petrodollar boom sparked a rush for sharia-compliant assets. But the large global Muslim population is seen as offering growth opportunities for the industry. (T/E01/IR)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 08:32
Category: Indonesia Written by Syarif Hidayat and edited by Ismet Rauf
Kuala Lumpur, 17 Jumadil Akhir 1435/17 April 2014 (MINA) - An Indonesian based international news service, Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) and Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad, a Malaysia news publishing group, based in Kuala Lumpur agreed to explore cooperation possibilities in the news exchange and exchange of journalistic visit between the two mass media.
This was revealed by MINA Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Syarif Hidayat during a visit to the Head Office of Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad, a big Malaysian newspaper and magazine publishing group company in Chan Sow Lin road, Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday afternoon.
Syarif Hidayat, who was accompanied by Special Assistant of MINA General Manager, Ali Farkhan Tsani, in a meeting with Zulkefli Hamzah, Assistant Editor (Malay: Penolong Pengarang) of Utusan Malaysia, proposed the news exchange cooperation and exchange of journalists visits to each other country .
Assistant Editor of Utusan Malaysia, Zulkefli Hamzah who was accompanied by Editorial Manager (Malay: Pengurus Jabatan Pengarang) , S. Agil S. Jaafar, enthusiastically welcomed the possibilities of cooperation in the news exchange and the exchange of journalists visit to each other country.
"We will try to achieve this cooperation to strengthen mutual news coverage of Malaysia and Indonesia," said Zulkefli, who was also accompanied by the other Editorial staffs of Utusan Malaysia consisting of Suffian Abu Bakar , Mohd Saiful Mohd Sahak and Puan Zuarida Mohyin .
According to Zulkefli, in the initial stages, the Utusan Malaysia will prepare its reporters probably from Religion Editorial section for the possibility of a visit to Jakarta and hold a special news feature coverage of the Pondok Pesantren Al-Fatah Group in Indonesia, the Islamic boarding schools that provide most of man power resources for Mi’raj Islamic News Agency.
Fair and objective news on Islamic world
Syarif Hidayat, MINA Deputy Chief Editor said, in addition to the exchange of journalists visit, we also agree to look for the possibility of the exchange of news, especially Islamic news and articles from Utusan Malaysia, while from MINA, the news and articles on the Middle East, especially the news reports on the Palestinian struggle to reach independence and achieve the liberation of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Zionist Israeli occupier.
"We want the mass media in Indonesia and Malaysia to strengthen each other in spreading the objective and fair news reports and information from the Islamic world based on Islam that is rahmatan lil alamin (blessings for the whole universe and its contents)," Syarif explained .
According to him, MINA, which has a network of reporters in the Middle East, especially in Palestine, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen, distribute the news reports directly from the Middle East region to its readers and media partners.
Meanwhile, according to Suffian Abu Bakar, one of Utusan Malaysia editor, his newspaper will send Islamic news from Malaysia to MINA and is ready to send its reporters to Jakarta to hold a special coverage of Al-Fatah Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia and receive MINA journalists to hold a joint news coverage in Malaysia.
Both media have their respective comparative advantages to complement each other, MINA with the website address www.mirajnews.com publishes news reports online in three languages (Indonesian, Arabic and English) with journalists in the Middle East region and some provinces in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Utusan Malaysia, with an online address www.utusan.com.my is the largest and oldest newspaper in Malaysia, supported by approximately 900 personnels, with a circulation of 200 thousand copies spread throughout Malaysia.
According to Suffian Abu Bakar, who deals with the Editorial column, feature articles on Islamic religion got major attention in the media, especially for the Friday overall coverage of Islam.
He added, Utusan Malaysia published daily in addition to print media, also online media, tabloid Kosmo (cosmopolitan), also publishes special media in Arabic Malay (Jawi), themes of social, cultural, religious and current issues of the Malays in Southeast Asia, coordinated by it editor Mohd Kamil Yusuff .
Since its establishment in 1938, the Group has progressed and consolidated itself into a multiple media conglomerate of the 21st century.
Today, the Group's diverse expansion is still synergistic with its traditional core activities. With over ten companies under its wings, the Utusan Group is engaged in four major business concerns namely publishing, printing, advertising and online services.
In a recent poll survey conducted on Malaysian publications by AC Nielson, the Group's two key newspapers, Utusan Malaysia and Mingguan Malaysia, as well as its top four magazines namely Mastika, Mangga, URTV and Wanita, have consistently achieved and maintained the highest circulations and readerships.
Utusan now operates its printing activities from its printing plants situated in Bangi, Prai, Kuala Terengganu and Johor Bharu.
In 1997, the Group made its entry into the world of multimedia with the launched of Utusan Malaysia On-Line, Malaysia's first on-line newspaper in full text and visuals.
More details on history, business activities and corporate information is available at Utusan Group website.
The Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) is a newly established news agency based in Jakarta that presents news, information on events in the Muslim countries as well as the latest information about Muslim ummah in the world.
MINA was officially launched by House Speaker Marzuki Alie on December 18, 2012 in Jakata, and witnessed by Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdurrahman M. Fachir, several ambassadors, community leaders, and the mass media..
Vision: It is continuing prophetic treatise in conveying the message of Islam which is Rahmatan lil 'alamin (blessing for the whole world and its contents) to invite people to worship Allah through the Islamic media information.
MINA Mission includes producing the news reports in an honest, fair and balanced ways as well as distributing accurate information about the Muslim Ummah in particular and world in general; Creating and distributing news reports and articles about building and defending the Islamic image of “Rahmatan lil 'alamin.” and Supporting the struggle for the liberation of Al-Aqsa and the independence of Palestine from the Zionist Israelis occupation through accurate news reporting.
MINA general manager is concurrently Imaamul Muslimin, Muhyiddin Hamidy, who previously sat for more than 30 years at the top level management of ANTARA, The National News Agency of Indonesia as General Secretary. He is also accompanied by some senior journalists from ANTARA as a consultant and editors.
Mi'raj News Agency is an international news organization that broadcasts in three languages (Indonesian, English, Arabic). MINA has provincial bureaus in West Java, Central Java, Lampung, Jambi, North Sumatra, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan as well as some overseas correspondents, covering: Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Palestine, Yemen and Japan.
MINA in its news reporting is always trying to constantly update news and information around the clock on national, regional and international levels objectively and accurately.
In the context of Indonesian news reporting, MINA is trying to present news and information about Indonesian development progress and events in Indonesia objectively to the international communities through English and Arabic news services. (T/E01/IR)
Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 16:16
Category: Palestine Written by Rudi and Edited by Syarif Hidayat
Gaza City, 17 Jumadil Akhir 1435/17 April 2014 (MINA) - Newly-appointed United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl on Wednesday described Israel's seven-year siege of the Gaza Strip as the "longest in history."
Speaking at a conference in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, he added that the blockade was being used to collectively punish the Palestinian people.
Krahenbuhl said he would make the Gaza blockade the focal point in his future talks with officials.
He said everybody should focus on the fact that Gaza's people merely wanted their dignity, freedom and humanity, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
He added that deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave were apparent to everybody.
Krahenbuhl said that in 2000, the UNRWA had offered aid to around 80,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip. He added that the agency now provides aid to some 800,000 refugees in the territory, adding that this amount was increasing year after year.
He said the UNRWA – despite its limited budget – would do its best to reach more poor people in Gaza.
The official added that he would brief Israeli officials on conditions in Gaza, noting that the UNRWA was determined to find a solution to the crisis.
Gaza Strip's roughly 1.8 million inhabitants have groaned under a harsh Israeli blockade since 2007, which continues to deprive them of most essential goods.
Recently, living conditions in the Palestinian enclave deteriorated further after Egypt began destroying the smuggling tunnels linking the coastal enclave to the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt accuses Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2007, of involvement in violence and unrest in Sinai.
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 05:26
Category: Asia Written by Nidiya, Rina and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Jakarta, 16 Jumadil Akhir 1435/16 April 2014 (MINA)- The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman, Din Syamsuddin said the opening of sharia Korean business travel agents “Korea Muslim Tour” is an incredible breakthrough.
"Although Korea is a country of Muslim minorities, but the Korea Muslim Tour program is a incredible breakthrough and we should give an appreciation," said Din in the launch of the book "Look For The Science Into The Land Of Korea" by Dr. Ali An Geun Sun, in the headquarters of Muhammadiyah, Jakarta, on Wednesday (16/4).
The Muhammadiyah leader hoped in the future, there will be an Umrah travel packages with Jakarta-Seoul-Jeddah, so Indonesian travelers get to know once more intensive relationship with Muslim community in the Gingseng country.
Din added, currently Korea was successful exporting the culture. This was evidenced by the rise of K-pop (Korean Pop) which is originally the product of Korea. “ With the rise of Korean films and music bands loved by teenagers in Indonesia, it is a sign of the succcess in exporting Korean culture,” he said.
"With the intensification of relations between Indonesia and Korea, the development of Muslims in the country is rapidly increasing and the Muslim community can make a positive contribution to the development of Korea," he added.
In South Korea, the population of Muslims has increased, especially after the Korean War (Korean War North and South Korea) 1950-1953. "Until now, adherents of Islam in Korea reach more than 194,000 people from about 50 million of Korean people. They are concentrated in the city of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. In this city there is the first mosque built in 1976 at the expense of Islamic Propagation Mission of Malaysia and other Islamic countries. There are nine mosques in Korea four Islamic Centers, and 60 Mushola (small mosque).
Islamic Da'wah in Korea increased after the establishment of the Korea Muslim Federation (KMF) in 1967. Institute is actively conduct missionary movement in Korea clearly and openly. Not only that, also thanks to the rapid development of Islamic preachers of support and assistance from other countries.
since 1950, Korea has established cooperation with many countries in the Middle East. Even in 1969 it has also opened diplomatic relations with them. Korean government considered that diplomatic relations with Islamic countries is a triumph of political, economic, and even cultural including education.(L/Nidiya/P03/P04)
Mi'raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 14:31