KL mulls over separate trolleys for non-halal foods

Malaysia may draft new laws to allay Muslims' worries over their goods mixing with non-halal items.
Malaysia may draft new laws to allay Muslims' worries over their goods mixing with non-halal items.PHOTO: THE STAR

Different checkout counters for halal and non-halal products also being considered

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia is considering drafting new laws to make supermarkets supply different sets of trolleys for consumers.

Trolleys used for carrying halal foods would be different from those for non-halal foods, a Cabinet minister said, as reported by the Utusan Malaysia newspaper yesterday. The government might also seek to have different checkout counters for halal and non-halal products, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainudin.

He said the proposal was being discussed by the ministry to ensure Muslims did not have to "worry" whether the goods they bought had mixed with non-halal items.

"The ministry plans to make special regulations so that people could differentiate the trolleys for use with non-halal products," Datuk Hamzah said.

"The segregation can be done with red trolleys for non-halal products and other colours for halal products," he was quoted as telling reporters after attending an event on Friday.

Halal foods are those that are permissible for Muslims to consume. Non-halal foods in Malaysia are currently sold in separate rooms or at separate counters in most supermarkets, with large signs to show that they are not for consumption by Muslims, who make up about 60 per cent of the 30 million population.

Mr Hamzah said studies would be undertaken first as providing different sets of trolleys would be costly for supermarkets.

The plan, if carried out, would represent yet another uptick in rising Islamic conservatism in Malaysia led by government officials.

Officials were inundated with complaints from non-Muslim women in recent months when they were prevented by security guards from entering some government departments unless they were "appropriately dressed".

The Malaysian Chinese Association on Friday called on the Health Ministry to investigate reports that a toddler was denied treatment at two government clinics and a hospital because his mother was deemed to be "inappropriately dressed", party vice-president Chew Mei Fun said. The government has also faced several legal cases involving Christians being blocked from bringing in Bibles and books in Bahasa Malaysia.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'KL mulls over separate trolleys for non-halal foods'. Print Edition | Subscribe