KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is on track to achieve global halal hub status by 2020, backed by a holistic ecosystem, said Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said the country remained the leader in the halal industry worldwide as it went beyond food and beverage to other sectors including Islamic finance, pharmaceutical, logistics and halal tourism.
“We are strong especially in food and beverage as compared to other countries and also have good recognition with our halal logo,” he told reporters after the launch of the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) 2017 by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Mustapa said Malaysia had been assisting other countries and worked with their halal bodies in terms of getting halal certification.
“Currently, we are working with Indonesia on standardising the halal certification,” he said.
Asked on halal investment, he said due to the economic uncertainty, the country witnessed a moderate investment coming into the industry.
However, Mustapa affirmed that Malaysia’s expectation of reaching RM15 billion in halal investments by 2020 was “doable” compared to RM11 billion currently.
On challenges within the halal industry, Mustapa said one would be to get more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to export their products and services.
“But now with the e-commerce platform, we are able to put more SMEs on the digital platform,” he said.
The global halal market is currently valued at US$2.3 trillion (US$1=RM4.42) annually with the halal food sector worth US$660 billion being the core component.
Malaysia’s exports of halal products in 2016 amounted to RM39.3 billion. The main export items last year were food and beverage, followed by halal ingredients and palm oil derivatives.
Among Malaysia’s top export markets include China, Singapore, the United States and Japan.
Malaysia’s halal exports are also projected to contribute 8.7 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product by 2020.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Ahmad Zahid said more foreign companies had shown interest in Malaysia’s halal industry and this included one of the world’s top flavour producers from Japan, which had expressed interest to set up its first halal ingredients facility here.
This year, MIHAS 2017, beginning today till April 8, hosts 580 exhibitors from 33 countries including ASEAN members, Palestine, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, China, Japan and Taiwan.
Complementing Mihas 2017 is the inaugural Malaysia International Islamic Lifestyle Exhibition, an event to promote Islamic lifestyle sector.
Its objective is to promote clusters such as modest fashion, Islamic education and literature, Islamic arts, information technology and multimedia, jewellery and ornaments, as well as social and community development.- BERNAMA