KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 ― A Muslim traders group complained today that they are confused by the conflicting information surrounding the halal status of Cadbury chocolates, and said they will continue boycotting the confectioner's Malaysian product range, as well those under Kraft Foods Manufacturing Malaysia.
In its response, the Malaysian Muslim Wholesellers' and Retailers' Association (Mawar) questioned whether they should adopt the National Fatwa Council's latest decision to uphold the halal certification of two Cadbury products, which were found with traces of porcine DNA.
“On the same face, we also see the KPDNKK saying it will charge whoever is selling those products,” Mawar advisor Bazeer Ahmed said, referring to the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry.
“We don't mind following instructions. We are not against Cadbury. We are doubtful of the inefficiency and coordination among the government authorities... that's what is giving rise to our suspicions.
“We just want them (authorities) to come clean and tell us this is what it is, and that is the end of the story,” he added when contacted by The Malay Mail Online.
News reports today quoted National Fatwa Council committee chairman Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin as saying that the halal badge on the two porcine-tainted chocolate products stays as they were marketed and produced in a halal manner.
Abdul Shukor stressed that the contamination of the two products “had occurred beyond the scope of control and was difficult to avoid”.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced that it will carry out a thorough analysis of all Cadbury Malaysia products to make sure they are not contaminated by porcine DNA.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) also launched its own probe into the matter and expects the Chemistry Department to complete its analysis of two samples of the contaminated chocolates early next week.
Bazeer said it was insufficient for the authorities and Cadbury to merely issue statements when the reality is that the products are still on the shelves and the traders are unsure of what to do with their stock.
He claimed that sundry shop owners and small-time retailers ― who make up the majority of Mawar's 800 members ― end up taking on a lot of public criticism over the continued sale of the two products as they are the frontliners.
“We bear the brunt of it because everyday we meet the consumers. Aren't we supposed to be protected? Who are we to follow? Jakim, the Health Ministry or Cadbury?
“Don't blame us for selling the products. We don't know... most of the shop owners are not very well educated and they run small businesses.
“We are small-timers. Come and talk to us, give us the assurance. It's not a matter of the boycott, clarification is the main thing,” he stressed.
Earlier this week, more than 20 Malay-Muslim groups called for a nationwide boycott on all Cadbury products, saying that a holy war needs to be waged against the confectionary giant for attempting to “weaken” Muslims in Malaysia.
At a news conference, the groups which include the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), Perkasa, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Darul Islah Malaysia (Perkid), Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and the Halal Muslim Entrepreneurs’ Association (Puhm) claimed that Cadbury had “crossed the line” by selling its porcine-tainted chocolates, and that swift action was needed.
PPIM president Datuk Nadzim Johan said that they have begun discussing matters with Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) and other Malay NGOs on possible legal action.
In an earlier statement, the company said it was informed that samples of its Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut and the Cadbury Dairy Milk Roast Almond that had been sent to the ministry had “tested positive for traces of porcine DNA”.