KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia intends to lead the global halal industry and to drive this forward are plans to synchronise halal certification procedures and the setting up of an international authority board.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia was committed towards enhancing business facilitation and positioning Malaysia in the global halal industry as an international reference centre.
"We are committed towards a competitive halal industry that consistently innovates, and produces products and services that does not only suits industrial needs, but more importantly the principles of Halalan Toyyiban (permissible for use or consumption according to Syariah standards).
"As a leader in the global halal industry, Malaysia through the Malaysia Halal Council has a big plan for the world, one of which is the setting up of the International Halal Authority Board.
"We intend to bring the world's halal authorities together, to synchronise the procedures involved in halal certification.
"We are also in the process of establishing – the first of its kind in the region – a halal international research academy," Zahid said.
He pointed out that the world's Muslim community, currently standing at 1.8 billion, was estimated to make up 27 per cent of the global population.
"If I may say so, we are obliged to succeed. Never has there been a greater need, a level of that ambition to a global stage."
Also present at event were former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
Zahid said Malaysia's role in the halal industry was expansive following the launch of the Halal Industry Master Plan, Malaysia's halal industry had grown tremendously.
As of December, Malaysia reaffirmed its position as the leading global halal hub, with an annual export value of RM43 billion and attracted investments worth 13.3 billion as at Dec, last year.
"These (achievements) contributed approximately 7.5 per cent to our gross domestic product for last year and to date, a total of 28,000 jobs were created."
Zahid said Malaysia's commitment to the halal industry brought in significant yield, when Thomson Reuters reported that the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2017-2018 which is defined as consisting products including finance, tourism, fashion, media, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics was projected to reach a whopping US$3 trillion by 2021.
"(As of now) Malaysia is once again leading the Global Islamic Economic Indicator for the fifth year in a row. This impressive lead reflects a robust Islamic Economy eco-system, with Malaysia topping the (fields) of Islamic finance and halal food.
"The Islamic economy is fertile market for many businesses, but we shall remember that it is not just about making money, but a service on a deeper, spiritual level." Additional reporting by Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim and Hazwan Faisal Mohamad.