A “meat cartel” that has been operating for the past 40 years has been recently exposed for forging halal documents, distributing fake halal beef, and passing off horse/ kangaroo meat as beef.
How do they operate?
As reported by New Straits Times, the cartel obtains meat from countries such as Canada, Colombia, Ukraine, Uruguay, Spain, and Mexico. The produce comes from non-certified manufacturers.
This process of certification is overlooked by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).
They buy the meat at up to 50 percent cheaper than the meat from halal certified slaughterhouses and manufacturers.
Upon the meat’s arrival in Malaysia, it gets mixed with certified halal meat.
What was found shocking to many was that the stock brought in includes kangaroo meat, horse meat, and beef.
However, the beef is of a lower quality and often diseased so it can be bought at a much lower price.
How did they get away with it?
According to New Straits Times, corrupt government officers took bribes between US$36 and US$738 (RM150 and RM3,000) to enable the cargo to be released.
As for officers on the ground, many received payouts between US$36 and US$123 (RM150 and RM500) to release each container. It was also reported that in some cases, officers were given women to have sex with.
Once the containers got released, about 25 tonnes of meat were shipped to the cartel’s warehouses where they could be repackaged with fake halal stickers.
The cartel managed to profit from avoiding taxes, duties, as well as the costs involved in the halal-certification process. Their activities have reportedly been going on for 40 years.
The Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (MAQIS), Malaysian Customs Department, and port police are tasked with going through products that enter Malaysia’s ports before it eventually goes out to consumers.
The Kuala Lumpur Bumiputera Traders and Hawkers Association is asking its members to temporarily stop the sale of beef-based products following the news.
How are Malaysians reacting?
Many social media users were shocked that the meat cartel managed to pull this off for over 40 years now.
Some Muslims felt outraged that their religion was disrespected in such a way.
Mostly, people were disappointed at how this managed to go on for so long and have trouble trusting the meat sources around them now.