Head of Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH), Sukoso, told Salaam Gateway that the reports were “misleading”.
Law will be implemented gradually
The compulsory halal labelling law is part of Indonesia’s Islamic economy masterplan, which is scheduled to launch on March 26.
This plan will complement Indonesia’s 10-year Islamic finance masterplan, which was announced in 2016 to drive the growth of the country’s Shariah-compliant financial sector.
The goal, said Islamic financial education and research director Sutan Emir Hidayat, is for Indonesia to become a “prominent” epicentre for the Islamic economy.
In order to achieve this, compulsory halal certification and labelling need to begin as scheduled.
“The responsibility of BPJPH to start mandatory halal certification is still October 17, 2019,” said Sukoso.
Hidayat added that mandatory halal labelling would be implemented gradually.
This detail was stated in Article 67, which mandated the gradual implementation of the law for different sectors.
The phase-in period for cosmetics will start in October 2019 and end in October 2024, two years longer than food and beverage products are given.
Halal cosmetics in Indonesia
The implementation of the new law will require cosmetic products that are not certified Halal by Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) to obtain certification from MUI.
Once certified, cosmetics firms would have to redo their packaging to include the MUI halal logo. Products that are left unlabelled would face sale bans.
Even so, Marwarni Hassan, CEO of halal cosmetics company Cosmoderm, thinks it is achievable for the cosmetics sector as the major players in the space already adhere to the standards.
“If you look at the international brands that are already in Indonesia, they have already gone halal. I don’t think [the deadline] is demanding because those who want to utilise the halal label have already done so.”
Marwarni believes this will not deter smaller, newer brands from entering Indonesia. “There are sacrifices to make if you want to enter a big market like Indonesia.”
This enormous undertaking will be a challenge for Indonesia’s government, said Marwarni.
“I think the challenge the Indonesians are facing is taking a non-government body like MUI and turning it into a government authority.”
As such rumours of BPJPH resources being stretched are not far-fetched. “[Malaysia] also has barely enough manpower, and MUI is so much smaller. I think they are adding manpower slowly, but it is not as fast as many people would like.”