As a progressive Muslim country with consistent economic development and growth rate as well as political and social stability, Malaysia is the leader in the world’s halal industry. The success story of Malaysia as the pioneer in the halal industry began in 1974 when the Research Centre for the Islamic Affairs Division in the Prime Minister’s Office started to issue halal certification letters for products that met the halal criteria at that time. The first halal standards released in 2000 was an important milestone for Malaysia as it became the first country to have a documented and systematic Halal assurance system. The standards became the impetus to a new revolution that had transformed Halal, from strength to strength, from a traditional cottage industry to a vibrant new economy with an estimated global market value of USD2.30 trillion.

The rapid development of Halal certification in Malaysia has also prompted the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) to extend its halal section into a much bigger organisation in 2005, officially named JAKIM’s Halal Hub. JAKIM was the world’s first halal certification body responsible for monitoring the halal industry, leading to the amendment of Malaysia’s Trade Description Act in 2011 which gives JAKIM a much stronger mandate to regulate the halal industry. JAKIM’s recognition programme for international Halal bodies is the most stringent and sought-after bilateral halal system recognition programme in the world with over 50 international bodies registered to-date. The iconic Malaysia Halal logo is the most sought-after, globally-recognised hallmark that serves as an emblem for the country’s reputation as the world’s leading halal hub.

Realising the vast economic potential of the halal industry, a developmental agency named the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) was also formed under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in 2008. The agency is tasked to develop Malaysia’s industrial capacity and bring in foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

Malaysia plays host to two of the most important annual events in the halal industry, namely the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) and the World Halal Forum (WHF). Both play a pivotal role in building the country’s reputation as the global reference and trade centre for the new mainstream halal industry since 2003. With the government’s full support and heavy involvements, Malaysia’s credibility and leadership in the halal sector is also recognised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Today, Malaysia is the leading global halal hub with an annual export value of RM35.4 billion for halal products, which contributes approximately 5.1% of the total exports for the country. The country provides the world’s first halal in-flight catering on board its national carrier, Malaysia Airlines. The Malaysian halal standard is now being widely used by several renowned global multinational companies (MNCs) including Nestlé, Colgate Palmolive and Unilever. Malaysia’s halal portfolio has also expanded beyond food and beverage, venturing into various other sectors such as cosmetics, logistics, pharmaceutical and most recently, tourism.

There is no end to the variety of halal products and services that can be found in Malaysia; from halal food to Islamic banking, Malaysia provides end-to-end Halal goods with universal appeal. This, coupled with a conducive environment and Government-backed policies and initiatives, strengthens Malaysia’s position as the nucleus of the global halal industry.