TAIPEI, TAIWAN Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA) has completed one of the mandatory requirements to obtain the authority to legalize the Halal industry in Taiwan according to Indonesian Halal standards, namely the Halal professional certification competency test for its employees by the National Professional Certification Agency (BNSP) and the Professional Certification Body (LSP) of Indonesian Halal Product Organizer (PPHI). The signing of a joint agreement between LSP PPHI and THIDA witnessed by BNSP is a new history for Taiwan and Indonesia because the Muslim community in Taiwan can have easier access to Halal-labeled products and have a great opportunity to work in the Taiwanese Halal Industry, especially for Muslims from Indonesia.

Syamsi Hari Sanusi, S.E., M.M as Chairman of BNSP highly welcomed the collaboration between LSP PPHI and THIDA regarding the implementation of competency certification for Foreign Nationals (WNA) in the field of Halal Product Assurance in Taiwan and gave great appreciation to THIDA for being willing to use Indonesian National Work Competency Standards (SKKNI) in certifying its personnel related to Product Halalness.

"BNSP will always support the efforts of The Halal Product Assurance Organizing Agency (BPJPH) to realize the Halal industry in Indonesia and support the achievement of Halal Indonesia for the world community through strengthening human resources in the field of Halal Products, one of which is the process of signing the MoU and the first certification process that will be carried out by LSP PPHI in Taiwan," said Syamsi Hari on March 1, 2024, at the THIDA Office Hall or in the Taipei Cultural Mosque complex.

As one of the countries with the largest Muslim population in the world, the Indonesian government wants to ensure that the Muslim community can easily and feel safe consuming Halal food and drinks because they are guaranteed Halal, especially in Taiwan. The bonus of the Muslim population reaching 86.7% of the 279 million people or the 4th largest in the world, making Indonesia one of the largest Halal markets for industries worldwide, including Taiwanese industries.

"Our meeting today is a good first step for LSP PPHI and THIDA in order to support the world Halal campaign (Halal Global ecosystem) and advance the Halal industry in each country through the preparation of professional human resources with competency certification," said LSP PPHI Director Wahyu Suhadji Rahmad, DVM.

Wahyu Suhadji stated that starting October 17, 2024, as a Halal obligation for food, beverage, and slaughter products, based on the provisions of the law, goods entering and circulating in Indonesia must be Halal certified. This is a special concern and a great opportunity for the Taiwan and Indonesia Halal industry markets. Taiwan itself is one of the Muslim-friendly countries because, despite its small Muslim population, it is very easy to find Halal-labeled food and beverages, which is a form of THIDA's great role supported by the Taiwanese stakeholders.

"If products want to compete, they must be Halal certified; without Halal certification, they cannot circulate in Indonesia," he concluded.

THIDA Vice President, Salahuding Ma馬超彥, expressed his happiness as this is a new history for THIDA in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and implementing the first competency test for the agency and the biggest milestone for THIDA to take the role as an executor in expanding convenience for the Muslim community while answering the needs for Halal industry players in Taiwan.

"Yes, for the first time, so we are trying to take some actions and trying to start some activities, Insya Allah, because we know about Taiwan so many Indonesian students and workers, and this is important to be realized immediately," he said.

Salahuding Ma stated that the purpose of this MoU is not only to guarantee the quality of Halal products according to Indonesian Halal standards but also to campaign that non-Muslims can consume Halal products from Taiwan and Indonesia and have guaranteed food safety. The impact of the signing also creates job opportunities for Indonesian Muslims.

"Taiwan has a population growth problem, which means Taiwan needs a new generation to work in Taiwan. The number of students from Indonesia studying in Taiwan reaches 20 to 30 thousand people; after graduating, they can work in Taiwan's Halal industry and gain more experience and knowledge. Then return to build the Indonesian Halal industry, Insya Allah," he said.

Salahuding Ma explained that Taiwan's Halal industry products could also be consumed by non-Muslims and currently have gained public trust that the products are safer, hygienic, and nutritious. This Halal product is not only for consumption needs but also for a Halal and healthy lifestyle.

The number of THIDA staff employees is 18 people, with 5 staff employees who participated in the competency test. One of the competency test participants, Nabeel Chang 張亮 as a THIDA Technical Auditor, shared his experience when he was asked several questions by the Assessors from LSP PPHI.

"For me, it was not too difficult because I have learned from several papers and I have experience of some years in the field, but there are also questions asking situations that may happen in Indonesia and, of course, different to the situation in Taiwan, so the follow-up test is more like an exam. Alhamdulillah, our test went well, and we were able to answer all of the assessors' questions," Nabeel said.

Nabeel explained that in the process of signing the MoU and the implementation of competency tests focusing on food products, beverages, and poultry slaughter, which is the initial stage for this eligibility certification, such as cake, mochi, boba, and so on.

"We hope to have more skills and knowledge like Muslim auditors from Indonesia that can be realized here; maybe if we have more auditors, then our Halal industry will be even stronger," he added.

This competency test is the most prestigious milestone for the journey of the Halal industry in Taiwan, considering that Islam is a minority and finding Halal products is a rare item in the country nicknamed Formosa. The initiator behind the successful signing of the MoU between LSP PPHI and THIDA, which was witnessed in person by BNSP, was Andi Syahrullah Sulaimana, M.S., M.Sc., who is also a THIDA Technical Auditor.

"Our special concern is how the stigma of the Taiwanese people can accept that Halal label certification is not related to the religious element, but it is a quality assurance of the product by having good nutritional quality, up to the aspect of hygiene and guaranteed product safety for consumption," said Andi, a Ph.D. student at National Taiwan University (NTU).

Andi hopes that in the future, the TAIWAN government can support all movements carried out by THIDA so that the TAIWAN people can accept the Halal label as a quality standard for products, such as foods, drinks, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and so on. He also explained that THIDA's status is an independent player outside the Taiwanese government and there are no regulations governing the standardization of Halal products because from the beginning the Taiwanese government legalized any product based only on world food safety provisions, in contrast to the Halal regulations in Indonesia which are regulated under the auspices of the government.

"I am grateful to be the one who initiated this movement by my main goal to 'Halal-in Taiwan,' which in a sense guarantees the Halalness of products in the existing Halal industries in Taiwan for consumers worldwide both Muslims and non-Muslims," he added.

Andi explained that the main agenda in this MoU is to certify the professional competencies of THIDA personnel and verify THIDA as a joint competency test place (TUK) so that foreigners (either Taiwan citizens, or neighboring countries like Korea, Japan, Hongkong, China, and other) do not need to go to Indonesia if they want to take the competency certification test. With this MoU, THIDA is more easily authorized to certify professionals in the fields of Halal Auditor, Halal Supervisor, Halal Slaughterer, And Halal Chemical Analyst. As an initial step of its implementation, THIDA plans to recruit Muslim workers, specifically from Indonesia, who will be brought to Taiwan to supply the needs of human resources for Halal industries in Taiwan. In this matter, the Indonesian Authority (BPJPH) requires Halal auditors in other countries to have competency certification issued by BNSP so that the Indonesian authorities can recognize the Halal certificate, and the export of its products must also be recognized in terms of quality.

"This is an opportunity in narrowness, a great chance for Indonesia because with the presence of this MoU, the Taiwan Halal industries can recruit professional workforces from Indonesia (especially us, Muslims) to be employed. These industries export Halal products to Indonesia and other Islamic countries; Halal Indonesia's regulation requires Muslim workforces or supervisors. Automatically, Indonesians have great potential here, "he concluded.

Please note that the MoU and on-site visit activities lasted for three days, from Friday to Sunday, March 1-3, 2024 with the agenda of the first day signing the MoU of cooperation between THIDA and LSP PPHI, followed by verification to a poultry meat provider company (Super Qin Enterprise Co., Ltd., which is engaged in providing poultry meat) that is Halal certified and chemical test laboratory (Super Lab Co., Ltd. which conducts product Halalness tests such as alcohol concentration, porcine, gelatine, and other pork derivatives), then the second day conducts interviews with competency certification test participants from THIDA and the last day is hospitality. In the signing of this MoU, THIDA itself invited two Halal industry representative companies in Taiwan, namely the TCI Co., Ltd., represented by Lu Jie-Xiu (Manager), and WEL-BLOOM Biotech Corporation, represented by Huang Zhaohua (Senior Manager) and Ye Naijun (Commissioner).

This activity was also attended by several BNSP, LSP PPHI, and THIDA, such as representatives from BNSP namely Miftakul Azis, Robiatul Adawiyah, Rinny Syafriadi, then representatives from LSP PPHI namely Ahmad Daud (Lead Assessor), Dimas Bayu Pinandoyo (Assessor), then from THIDA namely Ibrahim Jao饒佳明, Saifullah Ma馬文光, Dr. Hsueh, Yi-Lun 薛彝倫, Khodeejah Cheng鄭蕙莨, Tsai Chia Hsiu 蔡佳秀, Achmad Roghib Mabrur, and Muhammad Yusril Hardiansyah (Invited Translator).


Author: Achmad Roghib Mabrur from THIDA

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