The government will soon establish the Department of Halal Affairs under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce’s General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention (CCF).
Cambodian Halal Steering Committee (CHSC) deputy chairman Osman Hassan told The Post that CHSC on January 21 conducted a meeting to discuss the draft sub-decree No 160 dated July 29, 2016 which established the committee.
“This discussion focused on revising some of the articles in the sub-decree to include new [details concerning the halal affairs department’s] composition,” Hassan said.
He noted that the meeting was chaired by Council of Ministers secretary of state Tekreth Samrach.
CCF director-general Phan Oun told The Post that the government would also amend the sub-decree to fine-tune the composition of the CHSC.
He said: “This committee may also see a new composition due to changes and promotions to new positions. We’ll then set up a halal affairs department under CCF.”
Once the sub-decree is formally implemented, Oun said the halal affairs department will be operational immediately, and its judicial police officers will inspect legal data and enforce halal labelling laws at all enterprises.
He said: “After the composition is all set in stone, we’ll have stricter management of halal products and inspections of small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] to properly put halal labels according to Cambodian technical standards.”
The general consensus among the private sector is that the measure will chip in to the promotion of tourism products and allure tourists after Covid-19 cases have been brought under control.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin said the proper management of halal products – especially food – will play an important role in attracting tourists to Cambodia down the line.
She said: “We applaud this attentiveness to tourism products which will better prepare us to welcome Muslim tourists after the Covid-19 situation has improved. We’ll have more products available to serve the tourism sector.”
Developing halal products is crucial to woo Islamic tourists – a major global market, she said.
“They’ll have loads of opportunities for leisurely sightseeing, and if we can manage halal food well, we’ll be able to entice them [Muslim visitors] to stay in Cambodia for a long time,” Sivlin said.
According to Oun, the commerce ministry has registered and issued certificates for 666 halal products in Cambodia.
He said: “Halal products comprise foods and other commodities that will help boost national economy growth, and will especially support the SME sector in Cambodia.”