Secretary who forgot to renew halal certificate fined $5k for using forged Muis email

SINGAPORE - A restaurant secretary who had failed to renew the company's halal certificate forged a new one and showed it to potential customers.

Pung Chee Lai then lied to her boss by telling him the halal application was still being processed and backed this up by showing him a faked email purporting to be from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).

The 57-year-old was fined $5,000 on Tuesday after she admitted using the forged email.

At the time she had been working for Pioneer Spring Restaurant and Tuas Point Seafood and Catering, which provided halal food for company functions.

Tuas Point's halal certificate expired on Nov 20, 2011, but when Rotary Engineering and Singtel made inquiries for halal food in the three months after that, she provided fakes that expired on Nov 30, 2012.

A police report was lodged in March 2012.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ang Siok Chen said that Pung's boss was alerted to the forged certificate by his staff, and when he confronted Pung about it she told him that the application renewal was still being processed.

To back up her claims, she showed him an email from Muis - which had also been forged.

Ms Ang highlighted the public interest in deterring conduct which undermines the Halal certification regime. She said Pung's actions were dishonest and premeditated.

Agreeing, District Judge Wong Choon Ning said the whole system would be affected if people could bypass it or create false certification, adding: "In this case, I do not find any basis of a deliberate commission of the act to provoke racial disharmony."

Pung's lawyer Devadas Naidu said his client made the false statement to Mr Lee in order not to be pressed further and cause further stress to her boss.

Pung, who has two other charges considered, could have been jailed for up to four years and/or fined for using a forged document.