Close to 500 applications have been received since the Ministry of Religious Affairs revised its blanket $50-per-product fee for obtaining halal certification and permits.

The new fee structure has been amended to correlate  to the size and scale of the business applying. There is also now room for exemption from obtaining a permit on a case-by-case basis, however, companies must still apply  in order to assess whether they can be exempted.

The move, which will see micro-businesses in the food sector pay only $5 per product for halal permits, comes on the heels of public feedback concerned over the price paid by micro and smaller enterprises.

With the change to the Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order, businesses that produce food to be distributed in factories or home-based businesses selling food at cube shops must apply for a halal permit. Meanwhile, businesses that prepare and serve food on site such as restaurants, cafes and food courts must apply for a halal certificate. 

APPLICATION FOR EXEMPTION

The companies are required by the government to register and verify that food products used by restaurants and other food vendors, tracing their production chain and other factors, to ensure the products are truly halal.

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Businesses can apply for exemption from the Order provided that they fall into two categories:

  • Restaurants that prepare and serve non-halal food for non-Muslims.
  • Businesses/vendors that do not meet the requirements and guidelines for the Order. This refers to food vendors operating permanent food stalls and vendors selling at pop-up stalls for a short period of time (not exceeding 30 days).

However, these businesses are still required to write and apply to the Halal Food Control Division as well as follow halal compliance and requirements. Exemptions will only be given following an audit and evaluation. Upon being granted exemption, the exemption is valid for one year. They must reapply once it expires.

The exemptions are intended to enable business and food vendors who are not able to meet the requirements and guidelines of the Order to operate and carry on their business. 

NEW FEE STRUCTURE

An officer from the Halal Food Control Division at the Department of Syariah Affairs yesterday said that the fee structure is based on various industry classifications, with the lowest starting at $5 per product.

Speaking at a roadshow to disseminate the changes to the Order announced last Saturday, Hj Mohd Norikhwani Hj Md Saini said the fee is a 90 per cent decrease from the previous $50 per product. With the amendment, the validity of the permit also change to only three years. Previously each permit was valid for life provided no changes were made to the products. Businesses are required to re-apply when the permit expires.

The fees (refer to table below) are based on the classification of industries provided by the Department of Economic Planning and Development.

The fee for obtaining the Halal Certificate is unchanged at $90.

Each permit category only allows for a certain number of products per permit. In the case of a business which falls under the “small” classification, if he/she wants to apply for a Halal Permit for 21 products, then the vendor is required to apply for a two permits altogether, as one permit only allows a maximum of 20 products.

The Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order Amendment 2017 came into force in May 26.  Under the amendment, the scope of the Order now makes it compulsory for businesses related to the preparation, production and distribution of food to apply for a halal certificate or halal permit. It also expands the scope of halal certification to medicinal products, cosmetics and consumables, as well as introduces and enforces compoundable offences related to the Order.