Halal Industry

Malaysian bank launches halal advisory to help customers get JAKIM certification

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian bank’s Islamic subsidiary has joined forces with a halal consultancy to help businesses through the notoriously difficult process of halal certification.

The service has been given the blessing of JAKIM, Malaysia’s halal certification authority, with its halal chief, Sirajuddin bin Suhaimee, presiding over the launch.

“Halal in One offers a business advisory by halal consultants to help SMEs obtain halal certification from JAKIM,” said Rizal IL-Ehzan Fadil Azim, Alliance Islamic’s chief executive.

The service will extend Aliance Islamic’s core offering of Shariah-compliant banking and financing, as well as enterprise takaful, to local SMEs. It will also offer customers halal awareness training, payroll solutions, and a business matching service.

Halal in One aims to help Alliance Islamic’s customers through the process by referring them to its strategic partner, HQC Commerce.

“It is very difficult for those who don’t know the procedure to get halal certification if they don’t have any information about it,” Abdul Hadi bin Mohd Asri, HQC’s halal consultant, told Salaam Gateway.

“It’s a complicated process because you have to trace all your ingredients. A company has to get all the halal ingredient certificates for domestic and overseas products. If they are come from overseas, they need to get a halal certificate that is recognised by Jakim.”

Halal in One is one of a growing number of services offered by third parties to help companies chart the thorny path to halal certification.

In October, Halal International Selangor, a state business development agency, launched an online tool to help food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics companies track their applications.

The complexity of the process goes some way to explain why 90% of Malaysian small and medium enterprises are not halal-certified. This is a cause of concern for JAKIM and the government as they try to coax more businesses to apply for certification.

With just 8,120 companies having gone through the JAKIM process in 2018, deputy entrepreneur development minister Mohd Hatta Md Ramli in August last year urged businesses to see certification as a means to increase their earnings.

“Halal certification serves as a boost for local entrepreneurs’ products to compete in the global market,” said the minister in August.

Alliance Islamic now intends to add more strategic partners with specific halal expertise to Halal in One to help customers in more ways.

The financial institution is not the first Islamic bank to actively court local SMEs onto the halal certification path. In November, CIMB Islamic said it would allocate up to 100 million ringgit ($23.96 million) in financing for companies that want to become halal-certified, targeting the 90% of local SMEs that do not have halal certification.

(Reporting by Richard Whitehead; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim [email protected])

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Richard Whitehead