The initiative to develop the Penang International Halal Hub came about when I first visited Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) and the World Halal Forum in May 2008. I was shocked to find that Penang has no pavillion nor presence in these two biggest halal event in the world.
There was no concerted effort at the state level in the past to coordinate the development of the USD3.1trillion dollar global halal industry when the whole nation is harping on making Malaysia the global halal leader.
So in June 2008, the State kickstart the planning process to develop PIHH and I have appointed YB Abdul Malik to drive the whole initiative. Essentially, we started from zero-base.
In May 2009 this year, we proudly showcased our efforts and informed Malaysia and the world that after one year, we have managed to achieve major milestones.
1. Formation of a strong tri-partite task force, steering committees and advisory panel to govern and charter the direction of PIHH. To this purpose, the State Government has provided a launching grant of RM 1million
2. Identified 131 acres of industrial land at the Penang Science Park to be the dedicated Halal Park. Current major investment is Halalgel (M) Sdn Bhd, at RM100 million. This is a strategic investment as it will be the first halal gelatine manufacturing plant in the SEA region. So far, there has been commitments of nearly RM200 million in Penang
3. Organising the first Penang Pavillion at MIHAS and World Halal Forum with a total participation from 35 countries
4. Signing of 9 MOUs during MIHAS, World Halal Forum and World Halal Research Forum. The MOUs will be translated into revenue-making projects for PIHH
With the expertise gained in this past one year and the collaboration between the government, private and academic sectors, I believe that PIHH is ready to explore various opportunities.
I was informed that Halal Penang has been approached by local and foreign investors to help them in improving and expanding their Halal industries.
The future will see Halal Penang offering value-added services such as
· Providing consultancy services to develop an integrated Halal Hub overseas by replicating the PIHH concept
· Creating a trading and distribution network worldwide to bring Penang halal products to the world
· Managing the Halal parks in Penang as the Halal Park Operator so that Penang Halal Parks become the most modern and efficient in Malaysia
· Establishing the incubator system with SME capacity development programs specifically to nurture SMEs to become global players
Penang and PIHH’s success at MIHAS and World Halal Forum 2009 has attracted tremendous interest world wide ranging from Asian countries like China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand and even Australia, to far-flung states like Russia, Middle-East, Central Asian states and United Kingdom. Penang has come a long way and our challenge is to sustain the success generated with international linkages with the foreign countries.
With a strong conviction, cooperation and guidance from the members of the Board, I believe PIHH will achieve its objective in making Penang the location of choice for Halal industries, destination and residence.