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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        7  April 2011

Malaysia agricultural sector expands halal

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The agricultural sector including palm oil offers tangible opportunities for expanding the halal industry, said Malaysian Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives and Consumerism, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said.

He said developments in the agriculture and palm oil areas present far-reaching opportunities for the halal food manufacturing sector and related downstream activities.

"The trend towards promoting halal food and non-food sectors is gaining traction in many countries and more companies are open to the idea of participating in this halal sector," he said at the launch of the International Halal Showcase (Mihas 2011) and World Halal Research Summit (WHRS 2011) here Wednesday.

Malaysia, he said has developed halal standards for food, cosmetics, personal care products, logistics as well as pharmaceuticals and therefore, the private sector should capitalise on the standards to secure wider international halal markets for these products.

"Halal is more than just certification to meet Syariah requirements. It is now about a strategic value proposition, and a very profitable business model."

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said through policy initiatives and programmes introduced by the government and private sector, Malaysia is now in the forefront of the halal industry.

"Mihas is our flagship programme for the international promotion of the halal industry. Since its establishment, Mihas has elevated itself into a truly international exhibition for the industry," Mukhriz said.

This year, a total of 401 exhibitors from 32 countries are participating in Mihas.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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