Restaurants without halal cert not necessarily haram, says minister

Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said Muslims should not assume that eateries not certified halal were automatically haram. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said Muslims should not assume that eateries not certified halal were automatically haram. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today said Muslims should not assume that eateries that were not certified halal to automatically be haram.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs said many Muslim businesses also did not have the halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).

“We cannot draw such simple conclusions,” Jamil Khir said during his winding-up speech for the debate of Budget 2017 in Dewan Rakyat today.

“There are Malay nasi lemak shops, roti canai stalls and all which have not applied for halal cert but a lot of people still eat there,” he explained.

Jamil Khir also said it was not necessary for eateries to obtain halal certification, but recommended that they do in order to avoid confusion among patrons.

“We understand that once they have a halal certification it increases customer confidence,” he added.

Certain food items such as “root beer” were also renamed as these may confuse consumers, especially in rural areas, Jamil Khir added.

“When you say root beer, the people in villages ask if it is root or beer. These are situations where halal certification plays a role in marketing, but it is not compulsory,” the Jerai MP said.

Global attention fell on Malaysia’s halal certification process recently after it was reported that a local pretzel chain’s application failed due to the presence of “pretzel dog” in its menu, among others.

Jakim later denied that this was the case, although its own guidelines state that halal food items must not be similar in name to haram products such as beer, bacon and ham, among others.

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