The Auditor-General has urged the Malaysian state Sabah's Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS) and Sabah Islamic Council to review the existing laws and prepare for a specific Halal Enactment, the Daily Express reported.
Several committees had been set up by the State Government to help achieve the aspiration of making Sabah a halal hub but from the legal perspective, Jheains is lacking its own enactment to enforce the usage of the halal certificate and logo in premises, products and materials for Muslims' usage. At the same time, Jheains needs to prepare a customer complaints registry besides having a special allocation for the purpose of the activity.
The Committee on Food and Material for Muslim Usage set up under Section 6 of the 1992 Islamic Administrative Law Enactment is to assist Muis implement the enforcement of the halal certificate and logo use as provided for the 1995 Sabah Syarie Crime Enactment.
Apart from that, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry also restricts usage of confusing halal signs on food as provided for under the Trade Description Act. But the A-G found out that there is room for improvement for these laws since presently it is difficult to take action against errant traders or operators.
Jheains also cannot take action against operators for displaying expired halal certificates and logo since there is no provision in the law for this. Besides, the enforcement on the usage of halal certificates and logo in Sabah was deemed weak and ineffective due to lack of personnel.
Meanwhile, the Auditor-General also feels that the issuance of the halal certificate and logo process needs to be expedited to encourage more traders and operators to apply for the certification.
KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA, Oct.25th 2007 (News Agencies)