By ROZANNA LATIFF AND EMILIA GAZALI
THINK GLOBAL: Safe, quality products will attract non-Muslims, too
HALAL products and services should not only be targeted and promoted within the global Muslim community, but also among non-Muslims, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
Muhyiddin said yesterday ‘halal’ products could gain greater acceptance among non-Muslims if they met global quality and standards in various market requirements including environment and safety.
“The opportunities of the ‘halal’ market are endless… Branding, marketing and advertising can be tailored towards spurring downstream business activities and opportunities.
“Therefore, continuous creativity and innovation in product and services development is a must to enhance further the ‘halal’ industry and brand,” he said, when launching the 7th World Halal Forum (WHF) at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here yesterday.
Muhyiddin said however, there was a need to acquire greater understanding of the various aspects of ‘halal’ accreditation, as well as ensuring uniformity in the application of halal standards globally.
He said Malaysia was ready to collaborate with any parties to ensure an efficient ‘halal’ ecosystem, given the country’s leading role in introducing standards for halal accreditation.
“(Malaysia also has) the relevant expertise to award certification in various non-food products, particularly pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and logistics.”
Muhyiddin also noted the need to reach out to discerning and vocal young Muslims, citing a recent study estimating that 60 per cent of the world Muslims were below the age of 25.
“This group of youths is not satisfied with just the compliance of ‘halal’ standards. They are asking “What values do a brand stand for?” and “How does the company give back to society?
He said Islam was often associated with negativity in the mainstream media, with terms such as jihad bringing to mind terrorism and suicide bombing, while “halal” was misconstrued as a barbaric form of slaughter.
“It is time for Muslims to stop being on the defensive. We must lead by example and present to the world that Islam is about peace, beauty, love and harmony.
“Through art, music, literature, comics and other stimulating mediums, these positive messages can be conveyed in a manner that is universally appealing to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
The two-day forum, which attracted some 520 delegates from over 35 countries, was aimed at stimulating discussion on the US$2 trillion (RM6.1 trillion) halal industry.
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