THE Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) yesterday announced some exemptions in the current procedures of obtaining Halal certification and Halal permit for eateries, food vendors and stall operators that are not in compliance with the requirements and guidelines under the recently amended Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order 2005.
The ministry also unveiled a new pricing regime for the issuance of Halal permits for each product, depending on the size of business operations, said Dato Seri Setia Haji Abdul Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Mohd Yusof, Permanent Secretary at the MoRA, at a press conference held at the MoRA Building in Jalan Dewan Majlis yesterday.
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abdul Aziz said that these changes were made after gathering feedbacks from the public and realising that many businesses cannot comply with the requirements and guidelines of the comprehensive Halal certification under the amended order.
Under the new exemption that is being set under the Halal Certificate and Halal Label (Amendment) Order 2017 that was enforced on May 26 this year, two categories of businesses will be exempted from the order: they are restaurants that serve non-Halal food to non-Muslim customers; and businesses that are not in compliance with the order such as food vendors, permanent stalls and short-term stalls.
He further explained that these exemptions are valid for a period of one year, which means that non-Halal eateries must submit applications for exemption from the Halal Food Control Division, where they will be issued with a written consent. Following the expiry of the written consent, non-Halal eateries must renew their application for exemptions, the permanent secretary said.
Meanwhile, other businesses that are being exempted from the Order (food vendors, permanent stalls and short-term stalls) also must first make the application to obtain the Halal Certificate or Halal Permit before being given an exemption.
He further explained that these exemption procedures are aimed at allowing businesses that could not comply with the guidelines of the order to continue operating, even though they are not eligible for a Halal certification and permit.
He also stressed that despite these flexibilities, Halal compliance issues are still being taken into account, and the Halal Food Control Division will ensure that these businesses are in compliance with the requirements set for the Halal compliance of food and beverage ingredients that are being sold or distributed.
The permanent secretary said that these exemptions are being made under Chapter 49B of the order that reads, “With the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the council can, in the form of writing, exempt those individuals and parties or those stipulated under the order, subject to terms and conditions that may be specified.”
New rates (see table) are also being introduced for fresh Halal permits for each product, and the prices are being classified according to business size, based on estimates provided by the Department of Economic Planning and Development.
Those in the ‘Micro Industry’ category will be charged B$5 for each product while those in the ‘Small Industry’ will be charged $150 for every 20 products. Those in the ‘Medium Industry’ category will be charged $300 for every 20 products while those in the ‘Macro Industry’ category will be charged $700 for every 20 products. Businesses in the ‘Multinational’ category will be charged $1,000 for every 20 products.
Previously, the cost for Halal Permit was $50 per product and valid unless the ingredient profile is changed. Under the new rates, the permits will expire after three years from the date of issuance and businesses will need to re-apply for the permits once they have expired. No date has been given as to when the rates will be effective from as certain processes are yet to be finalised, the permanent secretary shared.
MoRA officials present during the press conference yesterday shared that new Halal Permit sticker labels for products will also be issued for those products certified with Halal permit.
Under the Halal Certificate and Halal Label (Amendment) Order 2017, it is mandatory for all businesses in the country that are producing, supplying and serving food and beverages to obtain Halal certification before they can continue to operate. Halal Permits are also required for each individual product of businesses that manufacture or produce food products for supply and distribution, including medicines and supplements.
A Halal Certificate is also required for businesses that prepare and serve food at establishments such as restaurants and cafes.
Businesses that were established and running before the order amendment’s date of enforcement (May 26, 2017) were given a six-month grace period to apply for a certificate or permits for their products – before November 26, 2017 – while businesses that are registered after the date of the enforcement are allowed to operate within a six-month grace period.
To ensure the business community and members of the public at large are aware of the mandatory order and the new rates, the ministry will be holding roadshows in all four districts, starting tomorrow at the MoRA building in Jalan Dewan Majlis.