“Ridiculous for cake with festive greetings to become an issue,” says Abang Johari

SARAWAK Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has ridiculed the issue of festive greetings on cakes, adding that it is not haram for bakeries to write Christmas greetings on cakes.

The Gagasan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman said it was ridiculous for festive greetings on cakes to become an issue.

“Today I read in the news that making a cake with ‘Merry Christmas’ on it is a problem. This is stupid.

“What’s wrong with decorating a cake with ‘Merry Christmas’ on it? This is not haram,” he was quoted as saying by The Star when opening the riverfront and district office building in Selangau, Sarawak, today (Dec 18).

Abang Johari said the issue happened in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak should not follow suit.

“This is why we (GPS) left Barisan Nasional (BN) and formed GPS – so we can make our own decisions,” the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president added.

Abang Johari’s remarks came after reports of an internal memo by a bakery purportedly telling staff not to write “Merry Christmas” on their cakes in order to comply with halal certification requirements by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM).

The memo dated Dec 14, 2023, and purportedly signed by the bakery’s operations manager, which went viral on social media, said this was due to the bakery holding a halal certificate and being subject to JAKIM’s rules and regulations.

It also advised staff to use a “season’s greetings” card topper instead.

On Saturday (Dec 16), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said that halal certification holders are not restricted from writing festive greetings on cakes.

Mohd Na’im said he had asked JAKIM to clarify the issue immediately.

“No barring of writing festival greetings on cakes sold by halal certificate holders for customers.

“I have instructed the halal department under Jakim to issue an immediate statement which explains the matter clearly, especially to halal certificate holders. This will be done as soon as possible.

“I have also asked them to produce a video on the issue to ensure everyone understands,” he was quoted as saying by The Star on Saturday (Dec 16).

In response, JAKIM today (Dec 18) said that business premises with JAKIM’s halal certification are permitted to write festive greetings on cakes and items alike.

JAKIM however further clarified that its statement in 2020 is not applicable for its explanation on Dec 16 this year on the issue of festive greetings on cakes.

“Based on JAKIM’s statement on Dec 16 2023 regarding the matter above, it is clear that there is no obstacle for business premises that have the Malaysian Halal Certification to write any festive greetings on cake orders or items alike.

“Other matters related to the Malaysian Halal Certification Procedure Manual will also be reviewed and reassessed

“JAKIM’s previous statement in 2020 does not apply to this explanation,” JAKIM’s Halal Department said in a Facebook post today (Dec 18).

JAKIM also urged businesses with halal certification to refer to JAKIM or the state’s Islamic department if they have inquiries. – Dec 18, 2023


Main pic credit: The Star

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