Amid a push to introduce internationally recognized halal standards in Cambodia, a local meat processor said on Thursday that it had reached a tentative $50 million deal with a Malaysian company to develop halal meat exports.
Hor Sim Leang, managing director of SLN Meat Supplies, said he expected the deal would be finalized during a visit next month by representatives of Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corp., and would lead to Cambodia’s first halal meat exports.
Investors from the company toured the Sihanoukville processor on Wednesday, Mr. Sim Leang said, alongside Osman Hassan, vice president of Cambodia’s new halal certification committee, and representatives of the Malaysian Embassy and Cambodian Islamic Youth Association.
The Malaysian company aims to coordinate the development of Malaysia’s halal industry, according to its website, while SLN Meat Supplies opened its doors earlier this year as a slaughterhouse for cattle imported from Australia.
“They saw the quality of our Australian meat slaughter based on halal standards,” Mr. Sim Leang said, adding that he had also received interest from Chinese investors.
Mat Younes, the president of the Cham Business Network, a group of Muslim entrepreneurs, said Cambodia’s upcoming halal certifications would likely attract foreign investment from Malaysia as well as the Middle East, which had already made inquiries.
Cambodia’s Highest Council for Islamic Religious Affairs currently offers national-level halal certifications—including one given to SLN’s butchery—but they are not applicable internationally, Mr. Younes said.
“We are trying to make it international-level with technical support from Malaysia, whose halal product standard is recognized worldwide,” he said. “When they know we have a halal production factory, they will come to see what products they can export to their country.”
The development of the halal industry in Cambodia will be a boon for the country’s economy, Mr. Younes said.
“This investment will bring in more income to both the government, through taxes, and the Muslim community, by way of employment,” he said. “There will also be an increase [in demand] for the materials needed in production.”
sokunthea@cambodiadaily.com
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