PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has signed a first-of-its-kind agreement that will see authorities in New Zealand ensuring meat exporters there adhere to halal specifications.
Veterinary Services Department director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin said starting from January the New Zealand government would provide abattoirs according to Malaysian specifications and see that they are followed.
“The Veterinary Services Department and Jakim will conduct annual audit visits to the abattoirs concerned and place an officer there full-time for better monitoring,” he said at a press conference after the signing of the agreement here yesterday.
Abdul Aziz and Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) halal hub director-general Zainal Abidin Jaffar signed on behalf of Malaysia while New Zealand was represented by its Agriculture and Forestry director-general Wayne McNee and High Commissioner to Malaysia David Kersey.
Abdul Aziz said New Zealand used to export to Malaysia lamb and beef from over 30 abattoirs but the number had reduced to 14 after it was found the others did not comply with halal specifications here.
He said New Zealand officials approached the department and Jakim a few years ago to look into ways to increase exports to Malaysia.
Abdul Aziz said Malaysia currently depended on Islamic associations and councils in exporting countries to monitor the abattoirs and ensure they adhere to standards.
“Having an agreement with the government provides for better control in ensuring they follow our strict halal regulations and we plan to use this agreement as a model to negotiate similar ones with the other exporting countries,” he said.