Centralisation of Halal Matters Under the Federal Government in Malaysia: A Legal Perspective
Keywords:halal, halal certification, halal industry, halal standards, centralisation of halal, jurisdiction
Generally, halal matters in Malaysia are governed by piece-meal legislation, inter alia, the Trade Descriptions Act (TDA) 2011 and its by-laws, the Food Act 1983, Food Regulations 1985, state-issued fatwas, and the rules and guidelines promulgated by relevant authorities, whether under the federal or state governments. Consequently, as prescribed by the law, halal matters are assigned to various different entities. For instance, the Ministry of Domestic Trades, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNHEP) supervises halal trade practices. Both the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and Islamic Religious Councils (IRCs) of the states take charge of the halal certification portfolio. The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) handles services related to the internationalisation of halal products, whereas the Department of Standards Malaysia (DOSM) issues and revises time-relevant halal standards. This situation, however, may lead to the overlapping of mandates and confusion among industry players as to whether halal matters fall under the federal or state governments as prescribed in List II of the Malaysian Federal Constitution. Since Malaysia is at the global forefront of promoting the halal agenda, the Malaysian government must call for the centralisation of its regulatory framework to provide better supervision and harmonise practices in the industry. Hence, this paper discusses and deliberates on the legal and regulatory outlook of the country for the purpose of centralising halal matters under the federal government of Malaysia.