A Muslim NGO defended the need for a second halal logo, stressing it was to cater to Muslims who were still doubtful about the products they purchased.
Malaysian Institute of International Islamic Cooperation (Ikiam) Chairman Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the introduction of the second logo was because some Muslims were skeptical over products already certified “halal”, hence the second logo would allay such fears.
Zahidi, who is Padang Besar (Perlis) Umno division chief, is also the chairman of the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) which announced last Saturday that it was partnering Ikiam in launching a new halal logo for companies that were owned by Muslims.
The announcement generated a lot of controversy with even Muslim groups and religious leaders criticising the move.
Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM), a Muslim consumer group, and Pahang Mufti Abdul Rahman Osman both felt that the idea for a second logo would not only be confusing, but was an attempt to make a profit via religion.
The second halal logo, it was reported was also meant to clear the air over the veracity of halal products because some companies had allegedly been flouting the halal rules after getting the certification from the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).
Zahidi denied the move would negate the role of Jakim in terms of administrating Islam in the country.
“It is only meant to differentiate between ‘halal’ products by Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.
The idea itself drew scorn from many quarters, including prominent lawyer-activist, Azhar Harun who wondered whether the idea for a separate halal logo was another way of helping small Malay cottage industries or just another gimmick.
Ikiam was set up in 2004 to increase cooperation among Muslim NGOs worldwide. Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is its patron.
Aedi Asri@FMT Reporters Online