Friday February 1, 2013
Daud: Authorities have no problem
By RUSSELL TING
KUCHING: The authorities have no problem with halal-certified food outlets selling alcohol so long as it stays out of the kitchen and is not used as an ingredient.
Two hotels and two food premises in the state found that out the hard way recently when the state Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS) withdrew their halal certificates.
Islamic Affairs Assistant Minister Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman (pic) yesterday revealed that action had been taken against the businesses, but he refused to name them.
“These establishments were found to be serving food mixed with wine, or were keeping wine in their kitchens, which is unacceptable,” he told The Star.
“Thus, we have taken strict action against them and have withdrawn their halal certificates after our enforcement officers conducted a stringent check on their premises.”
When asked whether halal-certified food outlets can sell alcohol, Daud said: “We have no problem with them selling alcohol as long as it is not in the kitchen.”
While the number of halal-certified food outlet has been growing in the state, there are still some misconceptions about the certifi- cation.
One of the main reasons why some food operators do not apply for the certification is the belief that they would not be permitted to sell alcohol anymore.
“From what I understand, if you have the halal certificate you cannot sell alcohol. But why is there such a double standard?
“The restaurants in the hotels have the halal cert but they can still sell all sorts of alcohol,” an operator of a western restaurant complained in an interview with The Star recently.
So far, a total of 290 halal certificates have been issued to establishments throughout the state and more than half of them are operated by non-Muslims.
All halal-certified restaurants and food premises would carry the halal logo issued by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and Jais.
To apply for the certification, a fee of RM200 would be charged for a normal business outlet.
A halal certification would be valid for two years throughout which the authorities would monitor the premises and conduct surprise checks from time to time.
Should there be any violation of the rules during these checks, legal action, including the withdrawal of the halal certification, would be taken.
A corporation or organisation found guilty of contravening the halal regulations can face a fine of up to RM200,000 for the first offence, or up to RM500,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
An individual or other parties may face up to a RM100,000 fine or a maximum of three years in jail, or both, if convicted for the first offence.
For the second or subsequent offence, the offender may be slapped with a maximum fine of RM250,000 or up to five years in jail, or both.