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Seafood outlet warned on Halal

Published on: Thursday, February 06, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: A popular seafood restaurant was given a warning by the State Islamic Affairs Department (Jheains) for displaying the Halal logo on their website illegally.

The restaurant was booked for the offence and told to remove the logo immediately during a surprise inspection at supermarkets and restaurants, Wednesday, by the Price Monitoring and Regulatory Committee headed by State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

"Although the restaurant does not display the logo in its premises, it is still an offence for them to display it on their website.

"This is very misleading especially to Muslims because in this era, people usually check the website to determine the Halal status of any given restaurant. Surely, many who went to eat there thought it's a halal restaurant," said Jainab.

According to Jheains' Halal Certificate Secretariat officer Sotimin Sarun, the restaurant's Halal status was revoked by Jheains for undisclosed offences in December 2012.

Jainab added although the restaurant owners did not mean any harm, it is still a case of cheating the customers.

During the committee's visit to a nearby supermarket, it was found to display a Halal logo on its poultry products but failed to produce a Halal certificate when asked. The offence carries a maximum fine of RM5million under Section 29 of the Trade Description Act.

Jainab warned other restaurants that display the Halal logo that the committee would continue to conduct inspections to ensure all business owners abide by the law.

"We would be conducting another inspection at all the restaurants in the city soon. So beware," she said.

At the same supermarket, price labels for Grade C eggs were placed immediately above the Grade A eggs, giving an impression that the Grade A eggs were cheaper.

"This is confusing. Those who see this label would think the Grade A eggs are cheap and when they proceeded to the checkout counter, they would be charged higher. If they did not check their receipts, they would not know," said Jainab.

She also commented on the location of the barcode scanner in the supermarket which she described as hidden and difficult to spot.

"I would advise the management to consider providing more scanners and placing them where they are easily located by consumers.

"Be fair to the customers. Do not let them get caught offguard when the price label shows something while the barcode shows something else.

"The same goes to weight scales. Put them near the counter for verification by the customers before they check out.

Some items weigh less than claimed. Isn't that cheating?" she asked.

Jainab added that she would also liaise with the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperative Ministry (KPDNKK) to make it compulsory for gas cylinder companies to provide their delivery trucks with appropriate weight scales to ensure the gas cylinders weigh exactly as advertised.

"We couldn't tell the exact weight unless we weigh them.

They could say it's full, but how do we know?" she said.

Meanwhile, Jainab said during a visit to a wholesaler earlier, the company manager claimed they do not impose extra charge for transportation to premises in Kota Kinabalu and Putatan.

"We hear many complaints that they were forced to increase prices and blame transportation charges which they said are hefty.

But we have proven that their suppliers do not charge them extra for transportation.

"We found out, for example, some sundry shops in Putatan have increased their prices anyway.

Therefore, I ask consumers who were charged exorbitantly to exercise your rights and file a complaint to KPDNKK immediately," she said.

Jainab also said she was puzzled why there were so many complaints about price hikes when prices in supermarkets remain lower than ceiling prices.

"Maybe they are referring to items sold in wet markets where the prices are not controlled.

I do not deny some prices have increased.

But I do not think the situation is out of control. Do not be fooled by the rumours," she said.

The inspection was conducted with the cooperation of Wanita Umno, Consumers Front of Sabah (Cfos), KPDNKK and Jheains.