Religious ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysian and Singapore (MABIMS) are en route to greater cooperation in recognising Halal certification.
This was said by Minister of Religious Affairs Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman October 2010 during a press conference at the end of the 14th Informal MABIMS Meeting at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, Jerudong.
The Brunei minister did not mention whether the region is heading towards a single Halal certification, which is pretty unlikely, given the country's effort in promoting and capitalising on its Premium Halal brand.
He did say, however, that the agreement will include the strengthening of cooperation in information sharing and monitoring of cases relating to Halal food products, as well as the issuance of Halal certification.
The minister outlined the seven strategic fields that were discussed at the meeting, which included: the development of progressive but religious living through the strengthening of syiar and dakwah by Brunei Darussalam; the enhancement of human capital through integrated and relevant Islamic education system by Indonesia; the eradication of poverty through enabling the capability of the poor by Malaysia; the improvement of harmony of socio-community through the understanding of religion and culture by Indonesia; and the development of potential youths as future generation by Singapore.
The meeting also saw the agreement on a number of special cases, such as greater coordination on Rukyah and Takwim Islam MABIMS and the recognition of Halal certification.
A virtual office for the MABIMS Secretariat was also established, and launched by Brunei Darussalam, which according to the minister, serves as "an enabler in the implementation of work among members".
The minister touched on the MABIMS Youth Bus initiative, which is an important platform for youths as the future generation of Mabims to interact and improve ties.
He praised the charity work undertaken by the MABIMS youth in repairing the bus station in Pontianak, Indonesia, and hoped that such humanitarian work would carry through to next year.The next informal meeting of MABIMS will be held in 2011 in Singapore