Pop quiz… How many “religious officers” (that’s my best attempt to describe these people… heck, not that I care about them that much anyway) in a country of 27 million of which roughly 50% are Muslims, are needed to ensure that uncooked and cooked food which are sold publicly are “Halal”?
One thousand? Five thousand? I just heard on TV3 News (you might not see the particular article anytime soon, they are not exactly “real time”), that the answer is… wait for this… six. 6… as in, between 5 and 7!!! Unbloodybelievable! Essentially, this means that there is one Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) officer looking after every 2.25 million Muslim Malaysians’ right under their religious dietary law. Unbloodybelievable!
And there’s more… the highly intellectual people at JAKIM know that they have “some” manpower issues at present, and that they are in the process of increasing the number of officers to 160 nationwide. So, instead of one officer for every 2.25 million Muslims, they think that one for every 84,375 would be a more logical ratio… ah well, whatever. They seem to be overlooking another key problem in their department, which is their bloody slow pace of getting things done.
I’ve seen hundreds of expired Halal stickers in food joints all around Malaysia. When I pointed out the issue with the owners, the response are always the same… “We’ve been calling those JAKIM folks forever! And every time, they say that they’re coming… but they never came!”. If I’ve only heard it once every blue moon, the stall/shop owners might be lying… but when everyone says the same thing… I tend to believe them. Perhaps it’s also due to my own experience dealing with governmental bureaucratic bullshit… especially by these inefficient clowns… but that’s a story for another day.
But I guess this is the Malaysian way lately… the government will only act when the media screams. Not that I’m complaining! Under the old leadership, the only purpose for the media’s existance seemed to be as a pro-government propaganda platform… I believe that we’re much better off now than we ever were for the past 20 years or so.