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KUALA LUMPUR – The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) has denied that the “Eyeglass With Candy” sweets have haram ingredients as spread on the social media.

According to Jakim’s Halal Hub Division, the sweets which are round in shape and in various colours, produced by Goodfood Industries Sdn Bhd had valid halal certification.

“The misunderstanding arose when the consumer did not look clearly at the label which has the words ‘free from pig’s products and its derivatives’,” it said in a statement today.

According to the statement, in the process of issuing the certificate, a team of Syariah experts and food experts looked at every ingredient and the production process.

JAKIM also advised the public to be smart consumers and not spread anything without checking. – BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA: The move by McDonald’s Malaysia to bar cakes without halal certification from its premises has been praised by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).

Jakim director-general Tan Sri Othman Mustapha said the effort by McDonald’s reflected its commitment to ensure that its halal status does not get tainted.

He said that the issuing of halal certification by the department was in accordance with the Manual of Procedures for Malaysia Halal Certification (third revision) 2014.

“The manual has 13 guidelines regarding the granting of halal certification for eateries, and Jakim feels that the policy by McDonald’s is a good initiative which is in accordance with the Halal Assurance Management System,” he said.

Othman added that the policy was not new as many eateries already practised a “no outside food policy” which Malaysians were accustomed to.

He said that those who were unsure about issues relating to the halal status of an eatery should check with the authorities.

Last week, Mcdonald’s had confirmed that it has implemented a policy which bars customers from bringing cakes without halal certification into its premises, and explained that it was a Jakim requirement.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has been urged not to overstep its boundaries by extending the halal certification to premises instead of just the food.

Following McDonald’s Malaysia’s recent announcement that only halal-certified cakes are allowed into its premises, Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) co-president Gan Ping Sieu said there should be no restrictions on diners bringing in non-halal food into halal eateries.

He said Jakim’s halal-certification only applies to the food served at F&B outlets and not the premise itself.

“While eateries have the right to ban patrons from bringing in outside food, the decision should be based on commercial considerations and not whether the food is halal-certified or not.

“In this respect, Jakim should not overstep its boundary by accrediting ‘premises’ instead of ‘food’,” Gan, a former deputy minister, said in a statement on Friday.

He said McDonald’s decision on allowing only halal birthday cakes into its premises in order to preserve its halal-certified status, would open the floodgates for more areas, such as public transportation and schools, to be classified along halal and non-halal lines.

“This will only segregate the people along religious lines, especially at a time when there is a need to enhance unity in the face of rising extremism,” Gan said.

Cenbet also expressed concern that the halal issue had become a divisive national discourse in the last few months, after a similar outcry over Auntie Anne’s having to replace its ‘pretzel dog’ with a different name in order to obtain halal certification.

“It is time for those in power to step up to the plate and display political will and not fall into the temptation of political pandering at the expense of dividing the people further,” Gan added.

On Thursday, McDonald’s Malaysia issued a statement saying that only halal-certified cakes would be allowed at its premises nationwide in keeping with the requirements of its halal status granted by Jakim.

The popular fast-food chain said that it had made an exception to the long-standing ‘no outside food policy’ in the case of birthday cakes brought by patrons, but added that the cakes must be halal-certified.

KUDAT – Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the state government will continue to support efforts to uphold Islam by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).

The state government, via the Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAINS), will continue to provide additional allowances to trainees of dakwah (preaching) training centres.

“I laud JAKIM’s initiatives to provide educational opportunities to create human capital who is educated, qualified and skilled, via dakwah training centres,” he said when presenting Islamic Studies Foundation certificates (SAPID) to 200 graduates at the 20th convocation of Kudat Dakwah Training Centre, here today.

Musa said SAPID is an example of a holistic education model based on Islamic education, theoretically and practically.

“I am confident that the one year certification programme can add value to human capital development among children in Sabah, especially the new converts.

I believe that this programme can produce preachers who are knowledgeable, competent and skillful,” he added. – BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has reassured that Starbucks drinks are halal after a viral message claimed otherwise.

A representative from Jakim’s halal hub division told The Star Online that the message was not new and had previously gone viral two years ago.

“We debunked this rumour before. We can assure you that Starbucks Malaysia is certified halal and its certification has never been revoked,” said the officer, who requested anonymity.

The viral message, which is being spread on social messaging platform WhatsApp, claimed that several of Starbucks’ drinks were haram (not permissible in Islam) as it contained E471 (Emulsifier 471) and a food additive of porcine origin.

The Jakim officer said it was not within their power to stop the spread of the fake message.

“We can only repeat what we have said before, but it is Starbucks Malaysia that has to take a legal action against those who spread the fake information,” she said.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) will be meeting representatives of Auntie Anne’s later Thursday over the pretzel store franchise’s halal certification, said Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Auntie Anne’s was recently asked to change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage” in order to receive a halal certification.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament here, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said Jakim was willing to discuss the matter.

He said they never wanted to declare “hot dog” as haram, adding that what was important was the content of the food, and not the name of the product.

“Sometimes we understand that the company wants to maintain its brand as the product is already popular with that name,”

Jamil also said that the application of halal certification by a company is done voluntarily.

“They wanted the halal certification and in order to obtain it, there is a need to comply with certain requirements.

“At the same time, in some cases, foodstuff has names that are unpleasant, and we would certainly advice them to change it,” he said.

Commenting on a Facebook post that at Jakim had declared hotdog as haram, Jamil said it was fake.

On Jakim recommending the pretzel store franchise to change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage” in order to receive a halal certification, Jamil did not give a clear response.

“Hot dogs” are not the only contentious words when it comes to the Islamic body’s halal certification standards.

Under the Jakim’s Malaysia Halal Certification (Third Revision) 2014 Manual Procedure, an applicant may be rejected if their food items include the words “bacon”, “beer”, “rum”, “ham” or “bak kut teh”.

The manual was shared by Jakim’s Dakwah Division Facebook page on Wednesday.

Section 4.8.x of the manual, which details applications that are not eligible to receive certification, reads: “Products which use the name or synonymous names with non-halal products or confusing terms such as ham, bak kut teh, bacon, beer, rum, hotdog, charsiew and the like.”

Famous food outlet “A&W” has rebranded its root beer to RB and Coney dogs to “Chicken Coney” or “Beef Coney” two years ago.

PETALING JAYA: Whether food is halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden) depends on its content, and not its name, said Dr Asri Zainul Abidin.

The Perlis mufti said that the Mata Kucing fruit (literally means cats eyes) is halal although it is haram to eat the eyes of a cat.

He also gave the examples of tahi itik (duck faeces) and kodok (frog).

Both he said are haram to be eaten if their literal meanings are taken, but as names of kuih (local delicacies) – kuih tahi itik in Kelantan and cucur kodok – they are halal.

“We are of course asked to give good names to people, children and others. This should also apply to name of products.

“However, if the name is already used and we did not choose it, the food is not haram because of its name,” Dr Asri said in a Facebook post on Wednesday night.

Jakim had recommended that pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne’s change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage” in order to receive a halal certification.

On Wednesday, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the issue was “ridiculous”.

“My Muslim-ness is not at all affected by eating a hot dog. I think I want to eat a hotdog now. There is no need for this. It’s a stupid issue,” he said.

KUALA LUMPUR: The fuss created over the use of the word “hot dog” is ridiculous, says Umno’s Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament lobby Wednesday, the Tourism and Culture Minister said issues of this nature were raised by ignoramuses.

“Hot dogs have always been known to be western food and comes from the English language.

“Please do not make us seem stupid and kuno (backward).

“Hot dog is hot dog la. Even in Bahasa Malaysia it’s called hot dog. It’s been around for so many years,” he said.

Nazri added that he, as a Muslim, was not offended by the use of the word “hot dog”.

“This is ridiculous. This is done by people who are ignoramuses. They are not living in the real world.

“My Muslim-ness is not at all affected by eating a hot dog. I think I want to eat a hotdog now. There is no need for this. It’s a stupid issue,” he said with a laugh.

It was reported that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) recommended that pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne’s change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage”, among other matters, in order to receive a halal certification.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has recommended that pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne’s change the name of its “Pretzel Dog” to “Pretzel Sausage” in order to receive a halal certification.

“It is more appropriate to use the name ‘Pretzel Sausage’,” said Jakim’s Halal Division director Sirajuddin Suhaimee.

“The improvement process is being conducted from time to time.

“Malaysia’s good name as a pioneering ‘halal global’ figure needs to be improved.

“To avoid this issue at the global stage, the panel has decided not to use such a name,” he said via WhatsApp Tuesday.

In a statement earlier, Jakim clarified that the body did not label Auntie Anne’s as not halal.

Jakim explained that Auntie Anne’s food products were in the process of getting a Malaysian halal certification.

It said that this was done after some improvements to the franchise’s application.

This week, Jakim’s rejection of Auntie Anne’s halal certification application went viral on social media and blogs, with many Muslims questioning the halal status of the food items.

In response, Auntie Anne’s Quality Assurance (QA) and Halal executive Farhatul Kamilah explained in a Facebook post on Monday that a halal application had been rejected due to the “hot dog” name and administration issues.

Jakim wanted Aunty Anne’s to rename the food product and reapply for the halal certification for its outlets based on zones to facilitate the auditing process.

Previously, the company had registered for halal certification for all 45 outlets under one application.

Farhatul had assured customers that Aunty Anne’s is in the midst of obtaining the certification.

Muslims see dogs as being unclean and canine-related issues in Malaysia have sparked controversy in the past.

However, most Malaysians are aware that “hot dogs” and other items like “root beer” do not contain dogs or beer.

Jakim DG Leads List Of 188 Award Recipients From Agong

KUALA LUMPUR – The director-general of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) Tan Sri Othman Mustapha today led the list of 188 recipients of 2016 Federal Orders, Decorations and Medals in conjunction with the birthday celebrations of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah.

Othman received the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) award which carries the title of ‘Tan Sri’ from Tuanku Abdul Halim at a ceremony held at Istana Negara here.

Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah was also present at the investiture ceremony. The official birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was celebrated on June 4.

Others who were awarded the PSM award were managing director of ECK Development Sdn Bhd Tan Sri Dr Khor Eng Chuen, director of Synergy Energy (Labuan) Ltd Tan Sri Loo Chong Sing, chairman of S.K Tiong Enterprise Sdn Bhd Tan Sri Tiong Su Kouk, chairman of Tungling Corporation Sdn Bhd Tan Sri Tan Koon Swan and managing director of Syarikat United U-Li Corporation Berhad Tan Sri Lee Yoon Wah.

Tuanku Abdul Halim also bestowed the Darjah Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) award which carries the title ‘Datuk’ to six recipients including Appeals Court Judge Datuk Kamardin Hashim. – BERNAMA