Sustaining Malaysia as a Global Leader in Halal Industry

Today, Malaysia is a recognised global leader in the halal industry. What started as a good governance and practices on halal ecosystem in the ‘70s has now evolved into an entire global industry with the country today well positioned to profit from this booming sector.

HDC Vibes recently talked to Khairul Azwan Harun, Chairman of Halal Development Corporation (HDC) on the advantages Malaysia have today, the prevailing challenges, as well as the measures that are in place to ensure that Malaysia’s lead position is intact.

What are the competitive advantages that have contributed to Malaysia’s current leadership in the halal industry?

“One of the key factors contributing to Malaysia’s leadership in the halal industry is the heightened global awareness and demand for halal products. This consumer-driven demand for halal products has set a benchmark for the industry and has pushed companies to adhere to rigorous halal standards.

“Malaysia’s leadership in halal is also evident in the wide acceptance of the Malaysia halal certification, recognised in more than 47 countries. JAKIM, the sole halal certification authority in Malaysia, has also recognised 84 halal certification bodies worldwide. This recognition demonstrates the credibility of Malaysia’s halal standards and reinforces its position as a global leader in the halal economy.

“Malaysia’s influence also extends beyond its borders. As part of the ASEAN region, Malaysia has actively promoted halal as a top priority in the trade ecosystem. The ASEAN connectivity has served as a platform to highlight the importance of halal, and this agenda continues to shape bilateral discussions between nations.

“The recent visits of Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim to countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia further emphasised the significance of halal and its potential for collaboration. Tengku Dato’ Sri Utama Zafrul’s role in promoting trade has seen significant milestones achieved including in halal exports.”

What are the obstacles facing Malaysia in maintaining its leadership position in the halal industry?

“Even though Malaysia is widely renowned as a major global halal hub, there are still several challenges facing the industry in maintaining its lead position.

“JAKIM has played a vital role in regulating and certifying halal products for many years. To maintain the leadership position, we recognise the need for continuous housekeeping and refinement of Malaysia’s regulations and governance.

“This ongoing process ensures that the certification procedures remain efficient, transparent, aligned with international standards, and ease the applicants. By upholding regulatory excellence, Malaysia can strengthen halal industry players’ trust and confidence globally.

“Indonesia has emerged as a formidable player in the halal economy, showcasing its commitment to promoting halal certification and products. Rather than viewing Indonesia as a competitor, we should see this as an opportunity for healthy competition and collaboration.

“Recognising the benefits of cooperation, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to join forces to share knowledge, exchange best practices, and collectively elevate the standard of the halal industry in the region.”

What proactive measures have been implemented to sustain Malaysia’s global leadership in the halal industry?

“The Malaysian government places significant emphasis on halal industry. The establishment of the Majlis Pembangunan Industri Halal (MPIH), led by Dato Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, unites all 13 ministers, Chief Ministers from every state, and 30 other ministries. This collaborative approach ensures comprehensive oversight and streamlined operations across the halal ecosystem.

“In March 2023, the Malaysian government launched the Halal Industry Master Plan 2030 (HIMP 2030). At the forefront of this transformative initiative is the HDC, serving as the secretariat for the Majlis Pembangunan Industri Halal (MPIH).

“As a part of the initiative, HDC held a nationwide tour to actively engage with religious authorities, state governments and royal institutions across the nation to foster collaboration, gather valuable input, and bridge the gaps to harmonise all efforts in the halal economy.

“Recognising that halal encompasses more than compliance with halal and Syariah slaughtering processes, HDC encourages businesses to view halal as an integral part of ESG considerations. By incorporating halal practices, listed companies can enhance their market positioning and unlock new opportunities.”

Read the full interview here.