Friday, December 25, 2020

When Halal Beef is Not Halal

On Monday, New Straits Times exposed the shenanigans of senior staff from no fewer than four government agencies which are believed to be working hand-in-glove with a cartel specializing in bringing non-certified meat into Malaysia and passing it off as halal-certified products. 

They are high-ranking officers entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that halal standards are upheld – but instead they received payoffs, and in some cases even women for sex, as bribes in order to turn a blind eye to the cartel's operations and ensure that the its activities go undetected. This has been going on for more than 40 years. 

It is believed the syndicate imports meat from non-halal-certified slaughterhouses in a number of countries, such as Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Spain. 

In another report by the same Malaysian newspaper the following day, it is claimed that the frozen meat imported by the cartel from these countries is not limited to beef, but also includes horse meat and kangaroo meat. I’m surprised no mention was made of pork. 

And it is also alleged that the beef is from animals of poor quality or even diseased – and so it fetches lower prices and which allows the racketeers to haul in even bigger profits. These items would, upon arrival in Malaysia, be mixed with beef in warehouses nationwide run by the syndicate before being sold to unknowing suppliers. 

The newspaper highlighted that only countries that have been certified by the Malaysian authorities for the import of halal meat are Australia, Argentina, Brazil, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, with imports handled by JAKIM (Malaysia Islamic Development Department) and Veterinary Services Department. 

The Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department, Customs Department and port police, meanwhile, are in charge of managing the supplies once they enter Malaysian ports. 

So now we know the government agencies which uphold fraud and promote the taking of kickbacks! Forty years. That’s a long time and it must have taken a lot of people and a lot of bribes, to stay under the radar! 

And for so long, Malaysian Muslims have been unwittingly consuming non-halal meat! 

What is really troubling is that it demonstrates just how endemic corruption is in Malaysia. It is therefore, interesting that one Malay Mail columnist wrote that “the notion of dirty money is alien to Malaysia – “Dirty” money can instead be explained away as "rezeki" (providence). 

Corruption is truly well-entrenched in the country! Sad but that's a fact!

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