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New Sunday Times, 20 March 2005

Enforcement Division To Have 5,000 Men
by Jaspal Singh

IPOH, Sat. - The staff strength of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry's enforcement division will be increased to 5,000 within seven years.

Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Aqdal said the ministry had written to the Public Service Department early this year requesting 500 additional employees for the division by the end of the year.

"The current 1,600 enforcement personnel are not enough to cover the expanding areas of enforcement," he said.

He was speaking after the opening of a new Tesco store by Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah today, the seventh in the country.

Also present at the ceremony were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazaali, Tesco Stores Malaysia Sdn Bhd chief executive officer James Edward McCann and corporate affairs director Azlam Shah Alias.

Two more stores will be opened in Shah Alam and Kajang this year. One area where the ministry's enforcement duties have expanded is connection with the abuse and forgery of the halal logo.

Previously, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) was largely responsible for issuing halal logos and certificates and enforcing the regulations pertaining to their proper use.

"But now, the Government has given the ministry the task of monitoring and enforcing with Jakim assisting," Shafie said. The Ministry set up a halal unit under its enforcement division last June to oversee the use of halal logos and certificates, and it has a staff of 124.

However, most of the 1,600 enforcement officers have been mobilized to inspect business premises that use halal logos on their products nationwide.
Legislation introducing new areas of enforcement has also stretched the division to its limits.

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