‘Where do we stop?’ Interfaith group asks after ‘halal’ trolley proposal


(Malay Mail Online) – An interfaith group has criticised a government proposal to mandate separate supermarket trolleys for non-halal products, saying that segregation will only further polarise Malaysian society.

Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) vice-president Jagir Singh (pic), who previously served as its president, also questioned the effect of such a proposal when even grocery shopping is viewed through a religious lens.

“It promotes division among the population instead of promoting togetherness,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted recently.

He also pointed out that supermarkets are different from wet markets, as food items in supermarkets are fully packaged and most products sold are halal (permissible) for Muslims.

“They have a small section for ‘haram’ (items), but they shouldn’t go to (the) extent of trolleys being labelled. Where do we stop? How far can it go?” he asked.

He said Malaysians are already aware about the importance of handling meat well, noting that products should be properly handled to address Muslims’ fears of contamination.

In a report by Utusan Malaysia dated November 6, Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said his ministry was considering imposing new laws to segregate trolleys at supermarkets nationwide and proposed using trolleys of different colours, such as red for non-halal products.

Hamzah has reportedly said that the proposal to legislate the segregation of supermarket trolleys was still at the discussion stage and required comprehensive study due to the expected high costs that supermarket operators will have to bear.

Citing multiple complaints received about shoppers insisting on paying for non-halal products at regular checkout counters, Hamzah also said all supermarket operators have a responsibility to provide segregated check-out counters.