KUALA LUMPUR – The police believe the frozen meat cartel uses fake halal labels and involves a wide network, masterminded by local and foreign syndicates, says Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed.
He said this was based on the volume and value of the seizures made prior to this.
“Investigations into the activity are being conducted under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for causing fear or alarm to the public.
“In addition, the investigation includes those involved in the acquisition, storage, processing, smuggling, as well as those who manipulate, conspire and bring in the frozen meat through the Approved Permit (AP),” he said in a statement.
Huzir said the police had so far received 13 reports from the public, who were upset following the raid on a warehouse in Senai, Johor, and revelations by the press about companies importing non-certified meat before re-packaging them as halal beef for the local market.
“The police view this seriously and are committed to overcoming the issue with the cooperation of agencies such as the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, the Department of Veterinary Services, the Department of Malaysian Quarantine Inspection Services and the Customs Department,” he said.
He said the syndicate should be brought to justice as it had caused concern among Malaysians and touched on sensitive aspects of Islam.
“The syndicate has also caused dissatisfaction and threatened the peace in the country due to the deceptive actions of the irresponsible parties, which also tarnishes the country’s image as a halal hub and has a big impact on the country’s economy,” he said.
The Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister (KPDNHEP) Datuk Rosol Wahid meanwhile has said that the country’s three largest frozen meat suppliers, namely the Allana Group, Amroon and Al-Aali are among the those that are guaranteed halal.
He said, therefore, the Muslim community in the country should not have to worry about purchasing meat from the three companies.
“Do not be influenced by the information spread on social media, claiming that an alleged meat cartel has been operating for more than 40 years,” he told the media after visiting frozen meat importing firm Fatric Sdn Bhd in Selayang here today.
Rosol said the visit was to instill confidence among the community that the meat supply in the market was halal.
Earlier, in the Dewan Negara, Rosol said a frozen meat importer allegedly involved in the meat cartel scandal in Johor will be charged in court tomorrow for using a fake halal logo on its vehicles.
He said the action thus refuted the allegation that the government was trying to protect certain companies or those involved in the issue of great concern among the Muslims in the country.
“Not that we don’t want to expose the company involved, but the problem is that the crime was committed by a meat cartel using the logo of other company which is famous for its highly-demanded products.
“If we expose the name of the allegedly victimised company, it will tarnish their image and reputation,” he said when winding up the debate on the meat cartel issue proposed by Senator Asmak Husin.
Almost 10 senators spoke during the debate after the Senate president Tan Sri Rais Yatim allowed the motion to be debated according to Standing Order 17 (1).
Recently established company
Rosol explained that the government had never underestimated the issue and had taken some firm action against those involved, including by freezing assets worth RM1 million as well as seizing 24 rubber stamps of companies with high demands, 5,000 Jakim’s halal stickers and 2,428 boxes of frozen meat estimated at RM738,640.
At the same time, he also rebutted the report alleging that the meat cartel’s activity has been going on for almost 40 years.
“It’s not true that the activity has been going on for almost 40 years because the ministry’s investigation revealed that the company involved was registered in 2014 and obtained the licence to import frozen products in 2017.
“Furthermore, the results of the tests done by the Chemistry Department on the samples of frozen meat taken from their warehouse confirmed that they were not pork or horse and kangaroo meat, which is a relief to us all,” he said.
To prevent a recurrence of the scandal, Rosol said the ministry had set up a legal and halal enforcement committee to coordinate action and halal enforcement issues in the country.
Earlier, Senator Asmak Husin proposed a motion on an illegal meat cartel for wrongly using the logo of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) with the intention to deceive in accordance with Article 17 of the Rules of the Senate.
“I think this motion involves public interest because it is a source of protein for Muslims who are the majority of Malaysian citizens. For the Muslim community, halal, haram, shubhah food can influence concern their religious faith, physical development and life.
“It also involves the good name of the government, especially Jakim, as the issuer of the halal logo , for which the products were believed to be halal, not only by Malaysians but the international community,” she said.
Asmak said the people are also becoming scared and angry over the case because until today, some brands that are still used used by them are said to be involved in this case.
Investigation on the matter has been conducted for about a month and the people want the government to provide the list of the brands involved or at least outcome of the preliminary report, she added.