@Halal | may-june. 2020
Singapore has a diversified
economy and generally welcomes
complementary businesses, and
this includes halal markets,
integrating Islamic finance to all
Muslim-friendly business sectors.
Despite having only a 14 per cent Muslim
population, the halal industry on the island
Republic looks promising.
The impact of the recent outbreak
of Covid-19 has caused weaker external
demand outlook for the global economy. But
new opportunities are arising from more
usage of online sales and services.
One notable segment that can capitalise
on the rapid growth of the halal industry
is Islamic finance. It is worth noting the
Singapore Government is mindful of the
complementary role of Islamic finance to
the current banking industry.
Even a decade ago, Emeritus Senior
Minister Goh Chok Tong had mentioned
that Singapore could not be a complete
international financial centre unless it offers
Islamic finance as well.
Of late, Islamic finance has become more
social media visible.
A recent collaboration of Islamic finance
practitioners, Islamic religious schools
and secular students in Singapore saw the
formation IF@SG group via WhatsApp social
media, with a mission to be the main source
of reference for the Muslim community in
Singapore on Islamic finance.
Where crowd funding is concerned, many
such initiatives are done by Kapital Boost,
Ethis, Launch Good and Global Sadaqah, for
personnel or business entities in Singapore
to raise funds, enabling social financial
While the Monetary Authority of Singapore
is regulating both the Islamic and
conventional banking sectors, the Islamic
Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has
mandated Warees Halal. It is a one-stop
centre that brings holistic solutions to businesses
through its halal advisory, capacity
building, international certification and
In terms of digital technology, Singapore
always tops in the Asian Digital Transformation
Index. Despite the economic
uncertainty due to Covid-19, the Singapore
Government still provides financial support
to help enterprises adopt digital technology.
Through ICT, cross-border communication
is accessible. For example, Wahed Invest,
based in the United States, can expand its
robo-advisory services about Islamic valuebased
investing to countries like Singapore.
Globally, the four leading global emerging
of halal businesses in Singapore
Islamic finance has become more social media visible
technologies are artificial intelligence, block
chain, cloud computing and big data. MUIS,
for one, has embarked on Halal Quality Management
System, benchmarked against ISO
Recently, two local companies successfully
applied blockchain to gain a
• WhatsHalal has developed an enterprise
solution platform aimed at helping companies
to ease application processes for
halal certification, with a primary focus
on food companies.
• oneAgrix can verify the authenticity of
a manufacturer’s halal certificate before
potential buyers make their purchases.
Data is vetted and secured via blockchain
that assists with combating food fraud
Also, due to Covid-19, online grocery
deliveries have boomed. They include NTUC
Fairprice, Giant and Sheng Shiong while
HAO Halal Hub supermarket has enabled
online purchase using PayPal.
Singapore supports United Nation’s 2030
Agenda and the 17 sustainable development
goals and its strength lies in sustainable
urban management and water management.
These are vital components of efficient
governance of a country aligned to siyasah
syar’iyyah. The National Programme Council
has analysed how these activities are linked
to those SDGs whose values are strictly interrelated
to the maqasid of Shariah.
Besides, in line with the spirit of Islamic
values of environmental protection and
conservation of natural resources, the
Singapore government aims to develop a
low-carbon economy with clean energy and
green transportation with many projects to
cater to these are currently underway.
In the halal travel sphere, Singaporebased
CrescentRating is the world’s leading
authority on halal-friendly travel with
an online platform and has contributed
several models to strategic thinking in halal
The Singapore Tourism Board, a government
agency, has been working with
CrescentRating and Have Halal Will Travel
to target Muslim travellers in Asia.
in the global economy
The halal market has always emerged as a
progressive component in the global economy,
with both Muslim and non-Muslim
consumer base increasing every year. Amid
uncertainties post-COVID-19, halal products
& services and Islamic banking and
finance should complement each other to
potentially provide stability in GDP growth.
Eventually, Singapore needs an ecosystem
to support holistic halal businesses.
While acceptance may be low in such a
Muslim minority country, and things may
seem fragmented due to lack of a national
coordinating body, the economic prospects
of a halal economy, even as a niche in a
secular country, is promising.
Singapore essentially has the ingredients
to better manage the economic
headwinds through a bottom-up approach
If a centralised business enabler does not
materialise, all the players have to synergise
to support one other - for their customers,
for the economy, and the nation.
Having an open economy with welldeveloped
infrastructure and logistic
network, Singapore has the potential to
develop a halal hub, serving its halal industry
and exporting to the region.