Malaysia ready to advise Japan over ‘incomplete’ halal systems ahead of 2020 Olympics

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

Jakim said it is ready to send officials to provide training and update the criteria used to produce halal food for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. ©Tokyo2020Olympics
Jakim said it is ready to send officials to provide training and update the criteria used to produce halal food for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. ©Tokyo2020Olympics
Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development, Jakim, is ready to advise the Japan Olympic Committee around halal food at the 2020 Olympics, after expressing concerns that some processes are ‘incomplete’.

One of the problems facing Games organisers is that different countries may have different standards or interpretations of halal laws and guidelines.

“Jakim is ready to send officials to provide training and update the criteria used to produce halal food,” ​said Datuk Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee, director of Jakim Halal Hub, after a recent meeting between the Perlis state delegation and the 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games organising committees in Tokyo.

 “Though Jakim is satisfied the cleanliness and hygiene of food products manufactured by Japanese traders is according to the requirements of Islam, the Syariah (religious law) aspect is not complete and this is one area that our expertise is needed,”​ he said.

Jakim recognises international halal certification bodies that ratify the halal status of raw materials, ingredients, and meat and animal-based products to be exported into Malaysia.

Malaysia believes its experience in halal certification and halal food preparation, as well as relationships with the various international bodies, gives it the expertise to be able to advise and guide Japan.

Currently, Jakim recognises 67 halal certification bodies from 41 countries. Japan has six certification bodies recognised by Jakim.

A year ago, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak first met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to discuss halal certification for food products. He had said that the demand for halal products was expected to increase during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He expressed that the halal standards of Malaysia’s Jakim had high credibility and were accepted by the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations.

"Halal products here (in Japan) will be easily accepted if Malaysia is appointed as advisor to Japan's halal industry,"​ he had said.

Malaysia’s offer of help is in line with its aim to be a leading global player around halal produce and regulation.

In June, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the establishment of the International Halal Authority Board (IHAB). He said that halal authorities from around the world would visit Malaysia to synchronise procedures involving the issuing of halal certification for products and services there.

“We look forward to the launch of IHAB, which will be a way for all certification bodies to come under one platform, towards the harmonisation of halal standards, so products can be transported from one part of the world to another,” ​said Dr Sirajuddin.

Dr Zahid, who is also chairperson of the Malaysian Halal Council, also stated that the MHC would also establish an international halal research academy, said to be the first of its kind in the region.

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