15 Dec Makan …
Malaysians and Malaysians love thy food. We have food outlets 24-7 and may we be a nation that will never go hungry. Unfortunately, in this land of abundance of nasi lemak, roti canai and thosai, mee kari and laksa, mee mamak, wantan noodle soup and fusion of east meets west, we sometimes go over board – consuming more than we should and some over load sugar, fat and bad cholesterol causing alarming health concerns. Yes, in the land of aplenty, we over do things sometimes.
Malaysia is not alone, western countries have long been spooked by wider waist lines and giant beings, thanks to junk food, fast foods and couch potato lifestyle. Now this spookiness is haunting China and Japan too. Which is why Jamie Oliver has devoted his stardom and time on a food crusade to convert people in the western world to embrace healthier food and food preparation. And seeing the impossibility faced in converting adults, Jamie has turned to the young, scrutinizing school cafetarias and what the kids put in their bellies. By focusing on the young ones, hopefully parents and adults will give more attention to his food crusade !
Jamie told parents and kids to be aware of :
- What’s inside the food – its content, chemicals & toxic ? preservatives, fats and sweeteners ? unwanted internal organs chopped and disguised ?
- Where does this food come from ?
- Are this food overly processed ?
- How food are packaged – the plastic may be dangerous or unsuitable for food packaging or heating processes ?
I wish we had Jamie Oliver visiting Malaysia school canteens too. OMG ! The goreng-goreng of keropok lekor keras, overly oily goreng pisang and potato fries soaked in oil and tomato or chile sauces, the unrecognizable mee hoon and nasi lemak will surely shocked Mr Oliver ! School canteen operators and Kementerian Pendidikan, if you are reading my ramblings, please have more fresh fruits and simple kuehs (karipap, donut, lompang, keria) at school ? Ice creams are fine, pizzas are ok, roti canai is fine too. As long as they are in moderate proportions. And please don’t close your eyes on that pakcik selling junk food right outside the school gate thriving on kids pocket money on junk food ! If you allow this, might as well offer the very same junk food in school canteens. Again, selective junk food is ok too, else these kids will still find ways to binge on them elsewhere.
Remember “We are what we eat”.
We become what we consume. And we just do not eat food, we consume knowledge, we absorb experience, we develop new skills and master old ones. We read from daily newspaper and what the internet serves us. We listen to politicians, ustadz and ustadzahs, motivational speakers, celebrities and others not so exciting personalities. So we become what we consume – mentally, spiritually, environmentally and definitely the food we eat.
As a Muslim, we believe abundance is lent to us by the Al Mighty, He alone decides weather we are worthy of such abundance. He too decides that we should be doomed by such wealth, as a punishment of ultra greed ! So you see, as a Muslim we are asked to seek clean or “barakah” intakes, we are told to accumulate legally via “halal” means, we are instructed to share with our family and the needy via “zakat’. And thus, the critical starting point in wealth accumulation is the source itself. Thereafter, what instruments and how we grow income into assets to generate wealth. Ultimately, how we use the wealth and distribute the assets.
The teachings of Islam and guidance of Syarial (Islamic Laws) emphasize and remind us the horrible punishments should we engage in Non-Halal activities and instruments. These are bad food !
Muslims believe in an “ever after” world beyond this life. We will be resurrected and judged for our dealings in this world, and thereafter receive the ultimate “way of life”. Some may take a longer route, but we all want Jannah as reward. What Muslims do here, has great implications in our hereafter. So, how do we actually compute the ROI (return on investment) from Halal means ? Trully, there’s just not a number nor a rate of return for it.
Recently, the Securities Commission (SC) has announced a stricter assessment on Syariah securities. Annually, in May and November, SC releases “List of Syariah-compliant Securities” by the SC’s Syariah Advisory Committee (SAC). And the most recent listing was revealed on 29 November 2013 under the NEW SCREENING METHODOLOGY. As a result, a total of 653 securities or 71% of 914 listed securities on Bursa are endorsed as HALAL or Shariah-compliant securities (addition of 16 securities and exclusion of 158 securities from the previous list issued in May 2013).
The exclusion of 158 securities means these securities are now Non-Halal. How come ? Hmmm… let’s explore.
What’s the immediate impact of the new list ?
- With the new methodology adopted some Syariah-compliant stocks are now deemed “Non Syariah-compliant”
- Investors are given six months from 29 Nov 2013 to dispose the Shariah non-compliant securities; Investors are allowed to hold their investment in the Shariah non-compliant securities if the market price of the securities is below investment cost, even beyond the six-month period; and investors are allowed to keep dividends received and capital gains within the six-month grace period, without the need to channel the capital gains and dividends to Baitulmal and/or charitable bodies.
- Calculation of original cost may include brokerage and other related transaction costs.
- Investors here may refer to individuals, corporations, asset management companies, unit trust portfolios and takaful (insurance) investments which package and promote Syariah-compliant investment products and plans.
Why are these securities now deemed Non-halal ?
Since 1995 the SC adopted a screening methodology for Syariah-compliant securities, comprise quantitative and qualitative assessments. And in June 2013, SC announced revision on the screening methodology, adopting :
1. A two-tier Quantitative approach, which applies
(a) The Business Activity benchmarks assess the contribution of Shariah non-compliant activities to the overall revenue and profit before taxation of the company.
(b) The Financial Ratio benchmarks take into account of
(i) cash over total assets
(ii) debt over total assets
2. Qualitative assessment
The revised screening methodology was implemented to harmonise the local standards to global practices/expectation and to encourage capital inflows, especially from Middle East investors.
So, go checkout what’s in and what’s out of the list.
And please do the needful. Ingat, “we are what we eat” so eat the right things, do the right things and be happy that you’ve chosen the right from the wrong. May you have a blessed life, here and hereafter.
Happy New Year dear Readers