Non-Muslim Group Against Halal Product Labeling Law

Tuesday, 24 January 2017 , 12:00:00 WIB - Law

Halal labeling (Indonesia Halal Center.org)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – Non-Muslims are worried about the implementation of Law No.33/2004 on Halal Product Labeling. They’re worried that halal product labeling based on Islamic principle would interfere the life of non-Muslims in Indonesia. Therefore, they filed a judicial review against the law to the Constitutional Court on Monday (23/1).

The judicial review that was registered under case number 5/PUU-XV/2017 was filed by Paustinus Siburian. He considers that Article 1 number 1 and number 2, Article 4, and Article 18 paragraph (2) Law on Halal Product Labeling could violate his constitutional rights as an Indonesian national.

One of the Articles filed by Paustinus, Article 1 number 2 Law on Halal Product Labeling mentions that halal products are the products that are determined as halal products according to the Islamic principle. According to Paustinus, the Islamic principle mentioned in the law must be explained clearly. He said that the lawmakers must explain the Islamic principle they refer to.

"They mustn’t create uncertainty. If they don’t mention the principle, how can we know that the procedures meet the principle?" Paustinus said to the Constitutional Court panel of judges, Monday (23/1).

According to Paustinus, if the law contains Islamic principles, the policy makers have indirectly applied Islamic law in Indonesia.

He also considers that the Islamic principles that are also applied to non-Muslims will distract the religious rituals of other religions. Paustinus gave an example, in Catholics religious tradition, there’s a Eucharist ritual that requires wine. Paustinus worried that the regulations in Halal Product Labeling Law would make them difficult to look for wines as the products won’t get any halal certificate.

According to Paustinus, the Law on Halal Product Labeling should have some alternatives that mention some of the regulations are only applied to Muslim consumers. "I’m not a Muslim but the law is also applied to me, and I have the rights to question it because the law has promised the halal and haram products matter as a part of our positive law," he said.

Paustinus also criticized the obligation to own halal certificate as regulated by Article 4 Law on Halal Product Labeling. According to him, the obligation would make the prices of products higher as companies have to pay production costs and halal certification costs.

NOT MANDATORY - Responding to Paustinus’ petition, constitutional judge Aswanto has advised Paustinus to learn more about the constitutional matters that are considered forbidden by the Law on Halal Product Labeling.

Meanwhile, constitutional judge Wahiduddin Adams explained that the Law on Halal Product Labeling is not mandatory. "Mandatory means that every product has to get a halal label or not, and Law on Halal Product Labeling doesn’t (oblige it). However, if a product wants to be claimed as a halal product, the producer has to meet the requirements," Wahid said.

Meanwhile, regarding the Islamic principles phrase questioned by Paustinus, Wahiduddin explains that the phrase has a legal uncertainty and can’t be interpreted arbitrarily by all people. "The interpretation is mentioned in the law, and the law guarantees it, determines the limits and the corridors," Wahid said.

He also explained that the government has established a Halal Labeling Agency under the Religion Affairs Ministry to make sure the products with halal label are "halal" according to the Islamic principle.

Wahid also advised the petitioner, Paustinus, to study the governmental regulations that have been arranged as a technical guide to implementing the Law on Halal Product Labeling. According to Wahid, it’s important as the matters questioned by Paustinus have been answered in the governmental regulations. (Zulkifli Songyanan)

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