Islam by Federal constitution (Article 3) is without doubt the official religion of Malaysia although they have been much debate whether Malaysia is actually an Islamic state secular or otherwise. I have my own interpretation of Article 3 and disagree with Tommy Thomas, Advocate & solicitor whom declared Malaysia as a non-Islamic state in his paper delivered at the 13th Malaysian Law Conference in 2005. However, my interpretation and personal thought is less relevant to today's blog topic especially since the Article 3 has no direct or indirect effect to the public mass except to some unscrupulous lawyers and politicians.
What is relevant is that Islam is the official religion in Malaysia. Yesterday, 28 May 2008 article in the Star revealed nearly 50,000 non-Muslim outlets throughout the country paid as much as RM5,000 for a halal certificate that was not recognised by Jakim. The actual cost for halal certificate (if complied) is only RM100 (see: rate)
The Muslims comprised the majority of the population, thus surely, the false halal certification is in high demand amongst the problematic restaurant operators who failed to adhere to Jakim’s stipulated regulations and procedures.
What disturbed me.... why does Muslims or non-Muslim companies or restaurants in Malaysia requires or need to register for a halal certification when Islam is the official religion in Malaysia. I understand the need for the halal certification for export purposes but for domestic certification especially when Islam is the official religion?
The non-Muslim can consume all the ingredients that constitute a halal food (please correct me if i am wrong) except for Hindu and Buddhist that cannot consume anything that contained beef. If there is any certification that is required in Malaysia, it should be a NON-HALAL certification instead of halal especially when there are more halal outlets than the non-halal; henceforth, the non-halal certification will not burden the majority operators.
Since Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, all outlets should be deemed as 'halal' without any doubt unless otherwise registered and stated. Our government should ensure only halal imported products are allowed and produced (by both Muslims or non-Muslims) in Malaysia and those non-halal products are imported or produced only by the registered Non-Halal companies to be sold at the registered Non-Halal outlets akin of supermarket selling pork at the non-halal counter. Nonetheless, the government is the issuer of all license and permits for import, export , food factories and even local farm and slaughter houses as well as all farms.
Muslims certifying and paying for certification to label their outlets as halal is insane similarly, non-Muslim paying RM5,000 for an otherwise fee of Rm100 is absurd. It would be easier for non-muslim to register their outlets as non-halal without having to pay (RM5,000) for unnecessary compliance. The muslims can then avoid eating at the non-halal registered outlets and eat anywhere else without having any doubts on its halal status.