(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Halal is a way of life and goes beyond food and beverages to include cosmetics, halal tourism, modest fashion, Islamic finances, pharmaceuticals and much more.
Soft-launched by Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), the 16th edition of the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas 2019) to be held from April 3-6 will reflect the maturity of the event as a world-class platform for the world's halal industry.
The event was attended by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and Halal Development Corporation recently in Kuala Lumpur.
"With the strong support from both the public and private sector, Mihas has earned the status as the centre point for industry players to converge under one roof in showcasing the latest trends and innovations in halal apart from exchanging insights and knowledge on the halal industry," Latiff said.
Speaking to international media a day before the launch, Latiff said that the global Islamic economy amounted to $4 trillion in 2017; in 2023, the industry is expected to increase to $6 trillion.
"Halal means business and we also want to promote it as a comprehensive halal ecosystem in the world," he added.
Over 7,000 halal companies have been registered in Malaysia and many more halal-certified in the world.
"Halal certification in Malaysia is done by the government unlike many other countries," explained Latiff. He said that Muslim consumers are very concerned about the food consumption and look at the labels. "The demand for genuine halal certification is rising. Also, halal products are not only for Muslims but for everyone since stringent methods are followed in the production," he said.
The focus sectors to be highlighted at Mihas 2019 are those pivotal to the industry's ecosystem, namely food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, finance, digital, logistics, Islamic tourism and the latest addition, modest fashion.
Matrade is expecting the export value of halal products and services to further increase by 5 per cent in 2019 to serve the significant upsurge in global demand for halal products and services.
With availability of government financial assistance and incentives, local small and medium enterprises can leverage the nation's competitive advantage to tap into the growing industry. However, Malaysia's advantage is not limited to its local industry; its global positioning as a halal hub also makes it an ideal choice for businesses from other nations to access the global halal market.
"Lately, we have received quite a number of Japanese food companies opening their operations here just to get Jakim certification. That reflects how companies, especially in non-Muslim countries, are looking to sell halal products," said Latiff.
With such a dynamic mix of contents and the wide array of business opportunities available, Mihas 2019 will deliver the value to grow the world's halal industry.
Suri Hanim Mohamed, executive director of the Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM), said that the AIBIM was collaborating with Matrade to facilitate the event visitors.
In a presentation, Faridah Mohammed Ali, head of strategic communications at Halal Industry Development Corporation, whic is organising the 11th World Halal Conference during Mihas, said that the event was a halal industry masterplan for 2020.
"We have developed halal parks that include pharma companies and many others that develop ingredients as well," she said.
The conference features a theme on 'Fostering a Robust Halal Economy: Global Integration and Ethical Practices' to reflect upon the uncertainties raised in building the future of the Islamic economy. The food and beverage sector continues to be a stronghold in the halal industry.
During a visit to Linaco, which produces exclusive coconut products that are halal-certified, managing director Joe Ling said: "Halal also means hygienic. it's more than a religious process and includes the handling as well, the reason why we choose to be certified by Jakim."
Fraser & Neave Holdings is eager to participate in this year's edition of Mihas, sayd CEO Lim Yew Hoe. "We believe Mihas is the best platform to directly connect us visitors from around the world, and we're looking forward for the event."
Berjaya Starbucks Coffee continues its collaboration with Mihas with a return of their successful breakfast networking session.
"It's great to witness industry players gather on our platform with their peers to discuss the industry's development and establish business relationships, all while enjoying a good cup of coffee," business development manager Tengku Ferry Widayat said of the success of the business networking session at Mihas 2018.
Another feature of Mihas 2019 is the Halal Corridor, which is being introduced by CIMB Investment Bank to support the transaction and business activities within the whole Halal industry. "Mihas is the best platform to introduce the Halal Corridor, as it is the world's largest international Halal trade show," said Ken Mohamed Faiz bin Kamal, head of marketing of communication and corporate responsibility group Islamic banking.
LightArtVR, on the other hand says Mihas provides an opportunity for other businesses to leverage virtual reality. "We are introducing our solution to the halal industry, so that brand owners can let the customer experience their latest products and solution through virtual reality," CEO and founder Muhammad Bayazid said.
Halal water and coconuts explained
Why is there a need for a halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) for water and coconuts? Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee, director of Jakim's Halal Hub Division, told Khaleej Times that the certification was for the process and not for the product.
"Water filteration units use products that are not halal, so before we give a certificate, we inspect all these," he said.
Malaysia's Jakim is recognised in 45 countries in the world. "We use consumer power to push for halal certification. this increases the industry numbers and companies," he said.
According to State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017-18, the UAE has the best developed Islamic economy for Halal pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, followed by Singapore and Malaysia. This is based on four criteria - trade, governance, awareness and social.
In the last two years, the halal pharmaceutical industry saw several key developments. Among these was the world's first halal licence for prescription medicine given out by Malaysia's religious authority, Jakim, to Chemical Company of Malaysia last year. Meanwhile, Indonesia is gearing up for mandatory halal products this year, and the UAE's Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology will require all halal imports to be certified.
Q & A
Is the halal market more than just ensuring the specific manner of slaughtering animals for meat consumption, avoiding eating pork and bovine-based products, and abstaining from drinking alcohol?
The short answer is yes, and it's become a trillion-dollar global industry across multiple clusters. Why is this, and how did it happen?
To understand the dynamics behind the growth of the halal ecology, we first need to look at what 'halal' really means. In the Arabic language, the root meaning of 'halal' simply means 'according to religious law'.
The religious law of Islam applies to all areas of a Muslim's life. It is not restricted simply to the foods that are religiously permissible to eat. The guidelines of what is religiously permissible in Islam encompasses the entire lifestyle, from how a Muslim dresses to how they earn money.
As a growing number of affluent Muslims search for products and services that can serve all areas of their lives in the halal manner, the halal market, which once primarily focused on food and beverage, has mushroomed into an ecology of halal clusters that also include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, logistics, finance, e-commerce and tourism, to name a few.
Asma Ali Zain Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.