M’sian halal products focus area for blockchain tech | Industry

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By Saunthra Thambyrajah & TT Lee

Blockchain's tamper-proof technology brings ‘traceability-based trust” and authentication to electronic record keeping and it has tremendous use potential in the Malaysian halal products certification business.

During his keynote address at Oracle's Blockchain Roundtable meeting, Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, president and CEO of the Malaysian -Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), said that the worldwide halal market was worth USD5.73 trillion in 2016.

With the rise in the demand for halal products, the global halal food market is expected to reach USD739 billion by 2025 and the halal pharmaceuticals sector is expected to reach USD132 billion by 2022.

Currently, it is impossible to quickly track the origin of a food item, in case of outbreaks of food borne illnesses or counterfeit products, said Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff.

Such issues have a potential to cause major loss in income and delays in settlement if it is not resolved quickly. Using blockchain based technology, the point of origin can be traced back in a matter of minutes, thereby minimising income loss for parties involved.

“There is a lot of potential in the halal industry,” said Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff, adding that he expected this sector to be a focus area for the use of blockchain technology in Malaysia.

He added that blockchain technology also had potential use within the education sector particularly with developing a system for issuing official digital certificates from universities and colleges. Currently it is estimated that 53 percent of certificates and degrees are forged, which brings into question the integrity of documents issued and the educational institution.

MIGHT conducted a survey of Malaysian organisations from various different sectors and from feedback it received, it found that Malaysian organisations felt that blockchain or digital ledger technology (DLT) would be able to improve transparency, enhance business processes and transmit information securely.

50 percent of the respondents said that digital infrastructure is important for the adoption of blockchain technology. This is something the government has to look into. The survey respondents also felt that the government had to promote the adoption of blockchain technology, by creating a regulatory framework, access to market and funding.

“The way forward is by creating policies that are designed to regulate applications and risk management, identify key focus areas for blockchain technology, improve awareness and education on blockchain and create industries that are transparent, competitive and market driven,” said Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff.

MIGHT thinks Malaysia will adopt blockchain by 2025 or earlier.

MIGHT was launched in 1993 by Tun Datuk Dr Mahathir Mohammed with the purpose of enabling strategic exploitation of high technology by Malaysian businesses.

During his presentation, Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff said that he believes that the new government's values (of rejecting all forms of corruption) will accelerate adoption of new technology in Malaysia and the main challenge in industrial revolution 4.0, is in the area of additive manufacturing and robotics.

He also added that Malaysia ranks No.9 worldwide, in terms of hi- manufacturing. The other 1-8 countries are developed countries.

MIGHT's three major themes or focus for Malaysia in the next 5-10 years are:-

  1. Sustainable cities
  2. 4th Industrial Revolution
  3. Foresight and Futures Thinking (where MIGHT integrates ideas and promotes networking across a broad spectrum of individual futurists, private think tanks and academic establishments).

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