1. Let me first thank the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and its agencies, MATRADE and Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) for inviting me to officiate the Seventh International Halal Showcase, MIHAS 2010 and the Third World Halal Research Summit 2010.
2. From where I am standing I see many international faces, evidence of the global interest that MIHAS continues to draw. Clearly MIHAS is the premier exhibition for the Halal trade. To all our friends from overseas, I wish you a warm welcome to Malaysia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
3. Halal is an important agenda in our New Economic Model (NEM) that the Government recently launched. For Malaysia, the value proposition of Halal is in the fact that it is as much driven by the bigger corporations as it is by the Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs). Our SMEs are involved in the whole spectrum of Halal products and services ranging from food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care to herbal products, packaging and household products.MIHAS provides an important avenue for our SMEs to show to the world what they are capable of.
4. The Halal sector also contributes to our export revenue. Taking Malaysia’s export of processed food to the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries as an indicator of the potential, the trend is certainly promising. Malaysia’s exports of processed food to OIC countries increased from RM 1.62 billion in 2004 to RM 3.94 billion in 2008. Although, there was a decline in 2009 due to the impact of global recession, I am certain the growth trend will resume. A similar positive trend is also seen in the export of other Halal products, such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics, toiletries and essential oils to OIC countries, increasing from RM 409.7 million in 2005 to RM 839.4 million in 2009. Even during the global recession last year, exports of these products rose by 8.1 per cent.
5. Beyond that, the eco-system supporting trade in Halal also offers other business opportunities that have yet to be fully explored. This would include a broad spectrum of activities including, research and development, product design, logistics, training, certification, standards and e-commerce. These are businesses in their own right and offer opportunities for revenue generation.
Ladies and Gentleman,
6. While we recognise that there are significant opportunities in the Halal market, there are still many hurdles to overcome to realise the full potential of this sector. One of the obstacles relates to the lack of common Halal standards that are acceptable to all Muslim community and it is very much still a ‘work in progress’. I would like to urge the Muslim community to strive towards common standards for the benefit of the Ummah globally. Malaysia can offer our expertise in this area and we welcome all countries to utilise the existing standards that Malaysia has developed.
7. I am pleased to inform that Malaysia has been in the forefront in developing standards for the Halal industry that meet international best practices. This initiative will ensure that the Islamic community, no matter where they are, would feel safe and convinced that the food and products they consume are Halal.
8. Malaysia started with the launch of MS1900:2005 on Quality Management Systems in 2005. Since then we have developed the MS1500:2009 on Halal Food – Production, Handling and Storage and the MS2300: 2009 on Value-Based Management System. And we have not stopped there. Today, I am pleased to announce another milestone for Malaysia in the development of Halal standards with the launching of another two new standards namely, Standards on Halal Cosmetics, MS 2200: 2008 and Standards on Halal Logistics, MS 2400: 2010.
9. The Halal Cosmetics standard prescribes practical guidelines for the Halal cosmetics and personal care industry. The standard on Halal logistics is a comprehensive standard and is the first in the world which addresses three main components: transportation, warehousing and retailing. It addresses the framework for an organisation to establish a management system based on the halalan-toyyiban requirements.
10. We are willing and ready to share our expertise, experience and knowledge in developing such standards. Malaysia will also continue its initiative to establish new standards for the benefit of the industry and the Ummah.
Ladies and Gentleman,
11. Beyond the Halal standard, there are many other ways that Malaysia can support the growth of the global Halal industry. Malaysia is setting up a global reference centre in Halal knowledge and Halal-related services, including fatwa know-how, information on Halal certification, capacity building, business opportunities and incentives. The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) has taken the initiative to develop a Global Halal Support Centre (GHSC) for both investors and consumers. HDC has also introduced its innovative Halal application on iPhone platform to help consumers locate Halal food premises or restaurants using the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and Google Maps. Users will also be able to obtain immediate mobile access to the Halal directory, e-codes and Halal related fatwas, Halal industry news and knowledge by the end of 2010.
Ladies and Gentleman,
12. Malaysia offers itself as a base for international Halal operators. We have all the necessary elements that make for an attractive investment destination including world-class infrastructure, advance telecommunications and logistics network and business-friendly policies. Specifically for the Halal sector, Malaysia has the necessary eco-system as indicated earlier including several dedicated Halal parks. In addition, investors in Malaysia can also leverage on the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), that Malaysia has concluded, to access the Muslim markets in the FTA partner countries. These include the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), which provides access to a Muslim population of 273 million, and other bilateral and regional FTAs concluded with countries with high percentage of Muslim population such as Pakistan, China and India.
13. The recent collaboration between HDC and Glon Groupe, a French integrated agriculture producer to set up poultry farming in the East Cost Economic Region (ECER) is a good example of an investment capitalising on what Malaysia can offer for the Halal sector. Another example is the business partnership undertaken by Felda Global Ventures Livestock Sdn Bhd with Middle East Oil and Grains Ltd and Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd to develop an integrated livestock project in Malaysia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
14. The Halal business fraternity is also supported by a sophisticated Islamic financing and banking system. There are a total of 38 Islamic financial institutions operating in Malaysia, covering both domestic and overseas operations. Of these, 18 are the Islamic banks, 5 investment banks, 7 Islamic fund and wealth management companies and 8 Takaful operators.
15. Malaysia distinguishes itself as one of the most comprehensive platforms for conducting Islamic finance activities across the globe through strengthening connectivity with other financial centres. We have supportive Government policies to augment Malaysia’s attractiveness as a strategic hub for access to Syariah-compliant financial services. These include tax incentives which have been extended until 2015 and stamp duty exemption of 20 per cent for Islamic financial products, as well as the legal certainty provided by legislation such as the new Central Bank of Malaysia Act 2009.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
16. Once again this year, Malaysia is hosting the Third World Halal Research Summit 2010 with the theme “Inspiring innovation through Halal Research”. It is our goal to inspire innovation within the area of Halal research by providing an international forum for researchers and academics to engage in intellectual discourse that could contribute towards deepening and broadening interests in the Halal area.
17. MIHAS and the World Halal Research Summit in Kuala Lumpur represent Malaysia’s efforts at showcasing a sector whose full potential has yet to be realized. I am confident that your participation in these events will contribute towards enhancing networking and creating business opportunities. I wish you all every success and look forward to welcoming you back to Malaysia again next year.
18. On that note, and with the recitation of “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim”, it is my pleasure to declare open MIHAS 2010 and the World Halal Research Summit 2010.
Wabillahitaufiq Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.