“This case is shocking because it happened in a big factory which has pretty good standard operating procedures and a halal certificate. So such things should not happen,” Nadzim Johan, form the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), said at a news conference, Rakyat Post reported on Tuesday, May 27.
“We were really cheated, victimized and stressed to learn what we have eaten.”
Controversy started when pig traces were found in two chocolate products following tests conducted by the Health Ministry.
Reacting to the discovery, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) immediately suspended the products' halal certification, while Cadbury said it would recall them from stores.
Moreover, thirty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also urged the public to boycott all products made by Cadbury.
“Consumers should do something. We want to fully believe in the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and other agencies, but we cannot do that anymore.
“We have to act alone. Today I, together with other NGOs, have come together to do something about this.”
He further urged officials not to give back the halal certificate to the company at any circumstances.
“I urge the public to boycott in earnest, not just half-heartedly.
“This is because we need to send a message about the rights of consumers that cannot be taken for granted. We want this to be addressed seriously by the Health Ministry, Jakim and the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry.
“Today we have delivered a clear message after compromising for decades,” he said, adding that police reports would follow over the betrayal of consumers’ rights.
The boycotting NGOs included Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM), Persatuan Penerbit Al-Quran Malaysia, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Darul Islah Malaysia (Perkid), Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and the Halal Muslim Entrepreneurs’ Association (Puhm).
Representatives from Muslim NGO’s have expressed huge anger over feeling deceived by the company, vowing to sue them.
"We want to close down Cadbury if possible," Azwanddin Hamzah, president of Malay group Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM), was quoted by MSN news.
He added that the company’s apology will not correct the wrongdoing after their children ate the products with pork traces.
"They shoved pork in our mouths, and then apologize later. Cadbury has been in Malaysia for years. Why do they still not understand the sensitivities of the Muslim community?,” he asked.
"They have huge labs and yet, they keep giving the same excuses and just apologize. To me and other Muslims, this is not enough," he said.
He also announced a special team to provide free legal service to the Muslim community for compensation purposes announcing a partnership with legal aide group Sukaguam to proceed with their legal action against the confectionary giant.
“There are about 80 Muslim NGO teams waiting to sue Cadbury and seek an estimated RM100 million in damages,” he said.
Moreover, he condemned both Jakim and the health ministry for the delay in detecting the pig DNA in the two products.
"There may be some leakages in Jakim, I don't want to make any accusations but I encourage consumers to sue Jakim," he said.
Muslim Malays form about 60 percent of Malaysia's 26-million population, while Christians make up around 9.1 percent.
Islam considers pigs unclean because they are omnivorous, not discerning between meat or vegetation in their natural dietary habits unlike cows and sheep for instance, which eat only plants.
Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Now other goods and services can also be certified as halal, including cosmetics, clothing, pharmaceuticals and financial services.