MP SPEAKS | The present government is proposing a new commission to be established in seeking to regulate the existing halal industry.
The idea was mooted by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his keynote address at the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lecture.
Be that as it may, a syariah compliance commission would be added to the existing catalogue of commissions.
Former minister, Rafidah Aziz, vehemently rejected the idea. In her view, such a commission would be a waste of public funds. Apart from that, she added, we already have a plethora of regulatory bodies which seek to exercise almost the same function. Hence, it would be redundant to form such a commission.
She also said there would be no urgency to form a new regulatory body to regulate the halal industry.
Truth be told, it is very hard to disagree with her.
In my view, she is plainly right in reminding the feeble government not to unnecessarily waste any more of our public funds. Enough is enough.
Like it or not, Malaysia has been consistently hit by major financial scandals bleeding our economy and our public funds.
It is high time for the government to exercise prudent financial discipline in handling our public coffers.
This feeble government ought not to be allowed to indulge in any pursuit which may potentially throw our public money down the drain once again.
Any syariah compliance brand mooted by this government may lend some Islamic credentials to our prime minister.
Like it or not, such a brand, which is populist in nature, may possibly woo the support of Malay-Muslim voters. After all, the general election is looming and predicted to be just around the corner.
Any new commission means the government would badly need a new law. A new law means new appointments of public servants to run such a commission.
In short, the government has to inject more money in order to fund the new commission. The consolidated fund may be unnecessarily used (read: misused) once again!
Anyone who is critical of any “syariah compliance” brand - especially the Muslims - may be easily dubbed as “anti-syariah” or “anti-Islam” for opposing the idea even if the objection is duly fortified by cogent evidence and solid arguments.
However, “syariah compliance”, among other things, also means getting rid of any act which may be construed to be a waste of any public funds.
It is very hard to imagine in any syariah-compliant environment that any political leader may spend a hefty sum of money to wear a branded outfit.
Rafidah is absolutely right in saying that, at the moment, the country has already in place the Halal Development Corporation which, inter alia, seeks to promote the halal industry and ensure syariah compliance. The corporation was established in 2006.
With the existence of such a corporation, one may safely conclude that any attempt of forming a new commission that carries almost the same missions and objectives would be nothing other than a waste of public funds.
Why won't the government merely empower and enhance the capacity of the existing regulatory body such as the Halal Development Commission instead of incorporating a new commission?
It is utterly weird to indulge in any non-syariah-compliant exercise - a waste of public funds - to form a syariah compliance commission. After all, Islam never condoned the notion that the ends justify the means!
MOHAMED HANIPA MAIDIN is the Sepang MP.
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