‘Halal scientists’ should unite and share findings
| Azaraimy HH |
RESEARCHERS involved in Halal Science should unite and find a way to share and publish their findings as well as information to benefit not only the Muslim ummah but also the community as a whole.
This observation was made by Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources.
The recently concluded International Seminar on Halal Science and Innovative Product Development was perceived by many speakers as the first-ever attempt in the world to unite “Halal scientists” and share their findings, technologies and information.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Dr Adel Fickak from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University highlighted that Brunei should continue such initiatives, as it was the first platform of its kind that brought together researchers in Halal science and provided the opportunity for them to share and discuss their findings, thus making it known to the world.
He revealed that Halal products, especially in food categories, are highly demanded not only by the Muslim community but also by some countries such as Australia.
Brunei, Dr Adel said, is well known for its strong Islamic ideology and could play an important role in bringing researchers or scientists together in the future. The international seminar served as an excellent platform for the agenda and should be further enhanced.
Daisaku Misaka, CEO & President of Soy and World Inc said he had formed a joint venture with a local company, Al-Hana Enterprise to produce soy paste, which is needed in various food products. The pilot project will be ready by May in Tutong and hopefully, a production factory will be moved to the Brunei Agro Technology Park.
The CEO was previously looking to venture in another Asean country but came to know about the Sultanate and through the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, learnt about Al-Hana Enterprise and made the venture possible.
Sabri Hj Mohd Taha, Head of the Halal Industry Innovation Centre at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources said similar international seminars or conferences on Halal mainly focused on the business aspect but the recently concluded seminar focused on the science and innovation front, which he believes, is the first such initiative in the world.
The seminar was divided into three sessions namely Halal Science Innovation, Halal Detection or Certification and Halal Innovative Product Development. Twenty-five working papers were presented by various speakers including 20 invited ones from Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Thailand, USA, Malaysia, France and Australia including six local speakers from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Health, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Halal Industry Innovation Centre; Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources as well as the State Mufti’s Department. More than 250 participants from local and foreign countries attended the seminar.
According to Dr Quamrul Hasan, Founder and Principal Consultant of Bioinnovare Co, the concept of Halal is still practically misconceived among non-Muslims, especially in countries such as Japan where Muslims make up a small minority. However, many are opening up and understanding its concept due to efforts to publicise it.
Sabri Hj Mohd Taha highlighted that the Halal industry is growing with an estimated value of US$2.1 trillion in 2011. Sixty per cent of the value was in the halal food segment. Prior to the conclusion of the seminar, Pehin Dato Awg Haji Yahya explained that much has to be discussed and lots of areas were not touched upon during the seminar.
“We have only covered issues such as the production of Halal products but have not touched upon matters such as financing components for Halal production,” he said.
The minister then reiterated that discussions on financing options for product development was also not highlighted during the seminar. Much still has to be done including finding a way to disseminate information.
“The scientists involved in the study of Halal Science are not very easy to find, so I call upon all scientists involved to stand united and come up with findings.
“Hopefully, this will not be the last seminar as we hope to conduct another seminar in Brunei,” the minister concluded.