Sultan opens Brunei's biggest ever Halal Expo
By Amin Hosni, P Marilyn & Yusrin Junaidi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to open the third International Halal Product Expo (IHPE), which is the biggest compared to the other two expos the country had hosted in terms of participation, at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

The third expo has well and truly put Brunei on the international Halal map, which augurs well for the country's vision to become a Halal economy in the region to reckon with.

Accompanying His Majesty were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik.

The highlight of IHPE 2008 is the promotion of the Brunei Halal Brand, which by nature of its strict compliance and conformance to Syariah requirements and specifications is a certification that can be trusted by Muslim consumers worldwide.

The expo has attracted a larger number of participants this year, both locally and internationally, showcasing an even wider variety of Halal products and services.

In 2006, the expo featured 95 booths with a total of 73 exhibiting companies from 10 participating countries, 31 of which were local companies and the remaining 42 international.

In 2007, the booths increased to 158 with a total of 170 exhibiting companies, including 49 local and 121 international companies. The number of participating countries also increased to 13.

This year has seen the largest number of participants with 260 booths altogether exhibiting 180 companies from 13 countries. Local companies occupy 113 booths while 67 are from other countries, including 42 from Malaysia, six from Indonesia, six from Australia, two from Singapore, two from Philippines, two from China and the rest from Algeria, Dubai, India, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Upon arrival, His Majesty and the royal entourage were welcomed by Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Ahmad bin Haji Jumat, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources; Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Acting Minister of Health; and Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Hj Awg Mohd Zain bin Hj Serudin, Minister of Religious Affairs.

Also present to welcome His Majesty were Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamdillah bin Haji Abd Wahab, Deputy Minister of the MIPR; Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Hamid bin Haji Mohd Jaafar, Permanent Secretary at the MIPR; and Pengiran Hjh Mariana binti Pengiran Dipa Negara Laila Diraja Pengiran Haji Abdul Momin, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MIPR.

His Majesty launched the third International Halal Product Expo open and consented to receive a pesambah from Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd Hamid, who is also the chairman of the organising committee.

A doa selamat was read by State Mufti, Pehin Dato Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned to bless the event.

His Majesty and the royal entourage went to the Plenary Hall to view the various exhibition booths displaying a wide variety of Halal products and services.

His Majesty consented to have a group photo with committee members, ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries and senior officers at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Religious Affairs, as well as managing directors and managers of companies that are participating in the exhibition.

The expo is jointly organised by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Health.

The government has given packaging incentives for eight local companies that export their products overseas.

Since the enforcement of the Halal Certificate and Label Order 2005 on August 1, 2008, twelve companies have applied to use the logo, however only nine have been granted the right to use the Brunei Halal logo.

The companies are Sabli Food Industries Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Haji Mat Jali dan Anak-Anak, TMM Processing Sdn Bhd, SAHAMADA Corporation Sdn Bhd, Seri Pekatan Sdn Bhd, Marimin Sdn Bhd, BMC Food Industries Sdn Bhd and Noraini Bakery and Usaha Osra. All nine are presenting their products at the expo.

Since last year, Brunei Darussalam has demonstrated its strong commitment to further develop and promote the Brunei Halal Brand. The developments are designed to support Brunei's aspiration to become a premier international Halal product and service centre.

Spearheading this agenda is the IHPE, which is providing an important platform to showcase the country's capabilities and commitment to this increasingly valuable market segment.

Aside from the exhibition, the International Halal Market Conference (IHMC) 2008 will also be held at the ICC for two days from August 16.

The International Halal Market Conference will be themed The Emergence of the Halal Market Economy.

Thirteen speakers namely Hajj AbdalHamid Evans, Hajah Normah Jamil, Mr Ahmad Adam, Mr Salleh Abdullah Lootah, Mohamad Faisal Fadzil, Annette Isaac, Mr Othman bin Md Yusoff, Mr Marco Tieman, Mr Shahed Amanullah, David Smith, Professor Dr Abd-ElAziem Farouk Gad, Selma Djukic and Redhuan D Oon will be facilitating the conference.

The conference is coorganised by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Health.

IHMC 2008 provides participants with another opportunity to increase their knowledge by listening to the presentations and discussions on various issues, research findings and the latest developments in the Halal industry.

Collectively, the IHPE and IHMC 2008 offer opportunities to learn and increase the public's access to trade representatives, special product prices and presentation of new brands and product ranges. - Borneo Bulletin (15th August 2008)