Neelofa controversy: Muslim consumer advocate offers a differing view

WITH celebrity entrepreneur Neelofa coming under fire for marketing her sandals as “Muslim friendly”, Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM) offered a different to take to the controversy.

“I think people need to understand certain things about halal and being Muslim friendly. When we talk about being Muslim friendly, it is all-encompassing as Islam is universal.

“So, apart from the halal certification, it is also about how the company treats its workers, treatment of animals and how it affects the environment,” its president Datuk Nadzim Johan told FocusM.

Datuk Nadzim Johan

Neelofa, whose full name is Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor, posted an Instagram story on April 5, of a presentation for the Fipper x TheNoor by Neelofa slippers.

Her sandals, tagged as “Muslim friendly”, are priced at RM79.90, pricier that Fipper’s other products which are sold between RM16.90 and RM49.90 in their unisex collection.

Following the outcry, Fipper had apologised for the “confusion”, adding Neelofa’s products can be used by those who wear socks.

Consumer rights awareness lacking

Popular footwear brand, Bata, took a dig at Neelofa’s product, by promoting its sandals for RM39.99, calling it “wallet-friendly”.

Touching on the matter, Nadzim cited an example in the past, where a popular bread maker was victimising its workers.

“The company had halal certification but it was mistreating its employees. Some companies also cheat its customers. They cannot be categorised as ‘Muslim friendly’.

“So, we may need to look into Neelofa’s products in that angle,” he opined.

In general, the consumer advocate said that the public should educate themselves on whether the products and services provided by certain companies are good for them or otherwise, irrespective whether it has halal certification or not.

“For example, most of our fast-food products have halal certification but the question is, is it good for us and the environment?

“If we take an aspirin, it will help heal our ailment. However, if you continue taking it regularly, it can be harmful to our health.

“So, don’t get fooled by the marketing strategy used by the capitalists. Never forget the humanity aspect in everything we do,” Nadzim remarked. – April 11, 2021.

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