Cooperatives from Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia could make joint efforts to produce food products to tap the vast potential Halal market in the Asean region and globally, Brunei Industrial Development Authority (BINA) Director Haji Metassan bin Haji Abdul Salim said yesterday.
“Malaysia has the raw materials to make food products that could be sent to Brunei Darussalam for processing and to manufacture finished products. Brunei could provide land site for buildings to process the products. It is not only a contribution to local cooperatives, but also to the Muslim Ummah globally.”
Haji Metassan said this while welcoming a trade mission from Malaysia comprising 21 cooperatives under the National Cooperative Organisation of Malaysia (Angkasa). Also present during the business match making event were members of some 30 Bruneian cooperatives.
Elaborating further on possible ties on the sidelines of the event, Haji Metassan said, “Angkasa could send its officials to train Brunei’s cooperatives in marketing. And if the food processing industry is stationed here, it would provide job opportunities for locals, thus reducing unemployment in the country.”
Over the past years, BINA – which oversees cooperatives in the country – has received Malaysian cooperatives with the aim of forging closer business ties.
“The visit today is somewhat special as it is led by the president of Angkasa in an effort to unite the cooperative activities that will be implemented for the mutual benefit of Brunei and Malaysia. Several proposals have been discussed to assist cooperatives from both countries. Both have their own strengths and we can create projects, taking into account each cooperative’s strength. I urge Brunei cooperatives to take this business opportunity and to do follow up on it,” Haji Metassan said.
Dato Haji Abdul Fattah bin Haji Abdullah, President of Angkasa, agreed with Haji Metassan saying that such collaboration is for the interest of the Muslim Ummah.
Asean is close to achieving its Asean Economic Community (AEC) goal by the end of this year, which means cheaper goods and easier movement of people and trade in this region, he noted.
“Half of Asean’s 600 million population are Muslims and this is where Halal products could flourish: Halal products are not only accepted by Muslims but also by non-Muslims as these products are original and follow stringent health quality standards.
“By 2050, the Asean economy would become the fourth largest in the world after China, India and the US, and we think that our cooperatives can tap into this opportunity.
“Brunei has the financial strength and Malaysia has the raw materials and this is where (Halal industry) both cooperatives could work together”, Dato Haji Abdul Fatah said.
In addition, cooperatives in both countries could also explore opportunities by providing Umrah and Haj services for the Chinese market – which has some 200 million Muslims, he added.
Dato Haji Abdul Fattah said that during his courtesy call to Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, he touched on the establishment of an Asean cooperative organisation and the minister supported the move in principle.
The Angkasa president invited Brunei cooperatives to participate in the upcoming Asean trade exhibition, conference and business matching this October at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur. The first conference of Cooperative Leaders in Asean will also be held during this conference. Malaysia has nearly 13,000 cooperatives with close to eight million members.