LONDON: Five prominent Islamic financial institutions have pledged a substantial total funding of RM 2.67 billion to accelerate the advancement of Malaysia’s Halal industry.
This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his keynote address at the World Halal Business Conference (WHBC) 2023 here today.
The five financial institutions include the SME Development Bank Malaysia Bhd with a substantial pledge of RM1 billion, while Standard Chartered Saadiq Islamic Bank, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, Alliance Islamic Bank Bhd and Hong Leong Islamic Bank pledged a combined RM1.67 billion.
“This substantial commitment from leading financial institutions underscores our collective dedication to nurturing growth and innovation within our Halal ecosystem.
“The RM2.67 billion funding portfolio establishes an enabling platform for sustainable development, job creation and global competitiveness within the Halal sector, marking a significant boost in our mission to position Malaysia at the forefront of the global Halal economy,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said the government had spent about RM4 billion ringgit to promote and market local Halal products, however, most of the products could only be marketed domestically and had yet to penetrate the global market.
“The commitment from the five banks was an initiative mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is very committed to helping local Halal industry entrepreneurs to penetrate the global market,” he said.
He added that the pledged funds will be channelled towards various initiatives within Malaysia’s Halal industry.
This includes reinforcing the commitment to the research and development of innovative Halal products and services, facilitating infrastructure development and enhancing existing facilities for small and medium enterprises, as well as empowering entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Halal industry by providing mentorship, guidance and financial assistance.
Ahmad Zahid also emphasised that the Halal industry in Malaysia will continue to take the ‘whole-of-nation’ approach with over 300 government agencies, all aligned in purpose, and supportive of businesses and foreign partnerships.
“Our objective is clear, we are not just participants in the global Halal economy, we are aiming to be pioneers.
“And how do we do that? We do it through deliberate, multifaceted strategies that position Malaysia not only on the map but also at the forefront of the global Halal stage,” he said.
He also emphasised that the country needs to implement a seamless and efficient Halal certification process.
At the same time, Ahmad Zahid noted that palm oil-based products are the biggest contributor to the Halal export market, hence there is a need to increase the effort to make it more sustainable while exploring the new markets at the same time.
He also announced a new collaboration between the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.
“This collaboration is well-aligned with HDC’s mission to champion a sustainable Halal ecosystem, one that fosters ethical and environmentally responsible practices.
“The acceptance and promotion of palm oil and its downstream products within the US$3 trillion global Halal market are not merely business decisions, they are ethical imperatives that resonate with global consumers who demand transparency, sustainability, and ethical sourcing,” he added. – Bernama.