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09 Feb 2017


JOHOR BARU: In light of the authorities’ move to seize paint brushes suspected to be made from pig bristles, some hardware shops here are tagging all the brushes sold in their premises as “non-halal”.

Tan Jern Hsin, 28, who takes care of the family business in Johor Jaya, decided to do so to protect his stock from being confiscated by the authorities.

He took action immediately after learning that retailers were supposed to put up tags and separate brushes made from pig bristles from the rest.

“The problem is that we don’t even know what materials the brushes are made from as they come from our suppliers,” he said yesterday.

If customers insist on buying halal-certified paint brushes, Tan will make a separate order for nylon brushes, which are more expensive and do not contain any animal parts.

“A few customers had made such requests before but it is very rare. Nylon brushes are not sought after because nylon does not hold paint well and is impractical,” he added.

Hardware store retailer Welson Chan, 36, said it was unfair for the authorities to target traders instead of suppliers and manufacturers who did not inform them about the origins of the paint brushes.

“It does not make sense for us to keep sending paint brushes for tests at the laboratory before selling them. Just to be safe, I have also put up tags to inform customers that all my paint brushes are non-halal.

“I might lose a few customers but it is a risk I am willing to take compared to having my stock confiscated when the authorities come knocking,” he said.

Chan hoped that the authorities could give retailers a month’s grace period to get educated and separate the brushes before conducting raids.

The owner of a hardware shop in Larkin who only wanted to be known as Yong, said it had never been an issue with her customers before in her 20-year-old shop.

“I have a mix of customers and nobody highlighted or questioned about my paint brushes before and suddenly it became a big issue just because it went viral on the Internet,” she said.

The Johor Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consumerism Ministry on Tuesday raided two hardware shops in Jalan Persiaran Larkin Perdana, Larkin, and confiscated about 150 paint brushes suspected to be made of pig bristles.

Meanwhile, in Petaling Jaya, the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) has suggested that the Government make it mandatory for manufacturers to label products that are made with parts of swine with a pig logo.

“This would help Muslim consumers make informed choices,” PPIM president Datuk Nadzim Johan told the press, according to Sin Chew Daily.

He said the association received more than 50 complaints from Muslim consumers who unknowingly purchased products made with swine last year.

At least 40 types of common consumer items may contain traces of pig, he added.

These include paint brushes, crayons, wallets, belts, shoes, ice-cream, fruit juice, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and mask, among others.

Under the Trade Descriptions Act, traders are required to separate non-halal items from halal products or risk being fined RM100,000, three years’ jail or both.