The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) will be conducting spot checks on hotels nationwide to ensure authenticity of halal certification.

Its director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said the step was necessary to safeguard the interests of Muslim guests at the hotels, local and foreigners alike, besides protecting the good reputation of Malaysia’s tourism industry.

“We do not want Muslim visitors to be duped by hotels holding food promotions but do not have halal certification,” he told Bernama here Wednesday.

A check on Jakim’s e-halal website revealed that only 60 hotels had their kitchens halal certified whereas the number of hotels in the country exceeds 2000.

Wan Mohamad said that for a start, the department would focus on popular tourist destinations like Batu Feringgi in Penang, Langkawi, Genting Highlands and Melaka.

He added that the department would use the soft approach first to get errant hotels to comply, but if they remained stubborn, sterner measures would be taken like exposing the hotels concerned to the public.

In a related development, he said all-three star hotels in Sarawak were in compliance of the certification.

“This because of the state government’s policy whereby it only holds government functions at hotels having halal certification,” he said.