"If they can get the halal certification that would be better, but we do not register a medicine based on halal status or not. We do register non-halal medicine too," Dr Noor Hisham told The Straits Times.
Concerns over whether the COVID-19 vaccine is permissible for use by Muslims have surfaced as Malaysia signs deals with manufacturers to procure shipments.
The Special Muzakarah Committee of the National Council for Malaysian Islamic Affairs met last Thursday to discuss whether the vaccine can be administered to Muslims. Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said last week the decision would be announced after it has been presented to the King, who oversees religious matters, for his consent.
Malaysian pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga has said it is planning to build the world's first halal vaccine facility by 2022.
Malaysia has inked deals with Covax Facility (Covax) and Pfizer last month (Nov), to supply 12.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for 20 per cent of the population.
The country is also set to obtain the vaccine from China, which has raised questions among Muslims over its halal status.
"Even if there is an ingredient which is not permissible, the chemical transformation process will make it clean and halal," said Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin in a Facebook post after attending last week's Muzakarah Committee meeting.
Malaysia recorded 959 new cases today (Dec 9) and five deaths.
The halal issue in Malaysia can be a sensitive one, and can sometimes raise racial tensions.
While Muslims are obligated to make sure the food they consume is halal, cases of fake certificates or unhygienic production processes frequently make news headlines in Malaysia.
Malaysia's halal industry contributes to 7.8 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
As the agency responsible for certifying if products are halal, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) has found itself at the center of recent furors fuelled by social media claims that certain certified restaurants served pork.
JAKIM has had to play the role of myth-buster lately, after a viral video claiming that halal-certified coffee shop chain OldTown White Coffee served pork, when it was actually chicken.