Matrade CEO: Halal means business


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Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO Matrade. (Photo: Kemal Calik)
Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO Matrade. (Photo: Kemal Calik)

The Malaysian government supports halal. This is a key advantage to benefit from the billion dollar growth market. In a few weeks, the world’s largest Halal show Mihas brings together manufacturers and buyers.

“Halal means business,” said Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO of Malaysian Foreign Trade Promotion Agency Matrade, at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. The Southeast Asian country has ambitious goals: it wants to consolidate its role as the world’s leading Halal Hub. Malaysia has the most comprehensive Halal Ecosystem in the world, reports Wan Latiff. For example, the country has Islamic Banking, Halal certification, infrastructure, logistics and marketing agencies that would work closely with each other.

There are currently more than 7,000 halal-certified companies in Malaysia, of which around 2,000 would sell their products abroad. 90 percent of the companies in the country are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In order to promote the domestic economy, these companies should produce more halal products and increase their export share.

One of these export-oriented companies is Linaco with 1,000 employees. The largest coconut producer in Malaysia exports its products to over 40 countries. Main target markets are China, the USA and the Middle East. A partner from Offenbach, in Germany, is responsible for the European business. The entire Linaco production chain has been halal certified since 2004. “The certification has opened the doors to us in a number of countries, such as Egypt, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Kuwait,” Linaco CEO Joe Ling said.

Premiere for Modest Fashion

The manufacturer is also participating in the world’s largest Halal show Mihas, which will start in a few weeks and takes place in Kuala Lumpur from 3 to 6 April 2019. Then around 1,000 exhibitors and 30,000 trade visitors from over 70 countries will come to the Malaysian capital. Most exhibitors at the show are food manufacturers, also cosmetics companies, Halal tourism companies and Islamic banks have booked stands. For the first time, the trend segment Modest Fashion will be introduced this year.

“We do not just want to talk about halal products at Mihas, we want to do business at the show,” said Wan Latiff. Therefore, 200 buyers from 70 countries would travel to Kuala Lumpur. Last year there were still 150.

The Malaysian government strongly supports halal. For example, while in some countries, the certification is entirely private, government agencies such as the Jakim are responsible for this in the Southeast Asian country.


TV show about halal in Malaysian television

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All fair restaurants halal certified

For the Matrade boss, one of the biggest challenges in the world is access to halal products. In some countries they would not be offered or, as is the case with China, only in some regions. Another task that needs to be solved is the issues of certification and standards. Thus, in some countries, neither the knowledge nor a corresponding halal certification system is available.

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Dato‘ Adissadikin Bin Ali, Aibim. (Photo: Kemal Calik)

“We’re looking beyond halal,” said Dato’ Adissadikin Bin Ali, a council member of Aibim, the Islamic bankers’ association in Malaysia. The country is a trading nation. So should the financing be halal. Malaysia has established itself as a center of Islamic finance since the early 1980s. “We are number one in the Sukuk bonds,” said Matrade CEO Wan Latiff. 13 Islamic banks participated in the Mihas last year. “More than 16 financial institutions will showcase their sustainable Halal services this year,” informs Adissadikin.

The Mihas will takes place at the Mitec Exhibition Center. Muslims do not have to search desperately for a halal restaurant, as is usual at other fairs in ther world. All kitchens have the halal label from Jakim.

Participation in the trip was supported by Matrade.