The authorities have confiscated over 90 paintbrushes which were allegedly made of hog's bristles with a 'halal' logo stamped on the handle.
According to Berita Harian, the items were seized following raids carried out by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry at a hardware store and a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur.
The first raid started at about 2.20pm and resulted in 30 brushes being seized.
The brushes were reportedly coded A913 and A680.
The second raid reportedly seized over 60 brushes bearing the same codes.
Of the total number of brushes seized, 52 were reported to have a 'halal' logo that is identical to those used by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
The Malay-language daily quoted ministry enforcement director Mohd Roslan Mahayudin as saying that the ministry will conduct further checks nationwide to protect consumers.
"In the two inspections (yesterday), we also took statements from the staff at the premises inspected to assist investigations. The confiscated paintbrushes would be sent to the chemistry department for analysis," he reportedly said.
He added that the case is being investigated under the Trade Descriptions Order (Item Made of Any Part of Pig or Dog) 2013, which is punishable under Section 28 of the Trade Descriptions Act 2011.
No certification for paintbrushes
The provision requires items made from pig or dog parts to be placed separately from other items in a shop and clearly labeled as from porcine or canine origin. A violation carries a penalty of fine up to RM1 million, up to three years' imprisonment or both upon conviction.
Berita Harian had previously sent a paintbrush to Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Halal Product Research Institute for analysis, and claimed that the brushes were found to be made of hog's bristles.
Today, the daily quoted a Jakim Halal Hub spokesperson confirming that the department had never issued any halal certification for paintbrushes sold in Malaysia.
It also quoted National Fatwa Council chairperson Abdul Shukor Husin as saying that foods made using hog's bristle brushes are considered filthy (najis), and it is forbidden (haram) for Muslims to consume it.
He also reportedly told the daily that using such brushes to paint buildings could lead to confusion amongst Muslims.
"It is better that we don't use brushes made of materials that we are not sure of, because it may give rise to doubt and confusion and affect daily activities.
"Imagine if such brushes were used to paint the walls of a surau or mosque. Surely it would cause anxiety because it affects the sanctity of a place of worship," he was quoted as saying. -Mkini