Jakim denies ban on Christmas cake greetings after bakery’s circular

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The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has denied banning a bakery, which holds a halal certificate from having Christmas greetings on their cakes and other food products.

In a statement issued on their official Facebook, Jakim said all halal certificate holders face no such restrictions, including any celebratory greetings on cakes or similar items.

It also clarified that the issue was addressed on Dec 25, 2020, and on Nov 1 this year, and that it has been maintaining a consistent stance on the matter.

“Once again, we must inform that there are no restrictions for premises holding the Malaysian Halal Certification (SPHM) to write anything related to a festive greeting on cakes and other things.

“Jakim encourages the public to seek clarification from the department or the respective state Islamic departments or councils (Jain/Main) if any confusion arises regarding Malaysia’s halal certification,” it said in the statement today.

The department attached a statement it issued on Christmas Day in 2020 quoting its deputy director-general for operations, Datuk Abdul Aziz Jusoh, who emphasised that as long as such greetings are not meant for display in halal-certified premises or on a product with halal labelling, they are permissible.

“There are no provisions that address any festivities, let alone Islamic festivities, under the Malaysian Halal Certification Procedure Manual (Domestic) 2020 and the Malaysian Halal Management System.

“These guidelines are binding only to applicants and holders of Malaysia Halal Certification (SPHM),” he had said in that previous statement.

Jakim’s statement comes in response to a recent social media uproar surrounding the alleged prohibition of the ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting on cakes.

A notice was circulated recently on the X platform (previously Twitter), indicating that employees at Berry’s Cake House in Kuala Lumpur were prohibited from incorporating the word “Christmas” or its variations to decorate seasonal cakes, even upon customer requests.

Its employees verified the matter, saying that they were barred from writing “Merry Christmas” or “Xmas” on its upcoming Christmas-themed cakes.

However, they were not informed of the reason behind this confounding decision, introduced only this year.

In response, the bakery chain defended itself, citing it had no choice but to adhere to the ruling by Jakim or risk losing its halal certificate, as reported by local media.

Berry’s Cake House operations manager Daniel Teoh had been accused of being racist for not allowing Christmas greetings on its cakes. – NST