The polemic of Halal obviously catches my attention as it affiliates with the traits of Malaysian Moslems – and as I have said earlier in my entries before this, that topic really attracts me (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/a-thought-fr-masters-degree-mini-project-islamic-communications-an-uncharted-waters/) and I really aspire to incorporate it into Communication framework for my PhD possible topics. That was also the reason why I chose knowledge gaps in Halal as my Project Research topic – “Malaysian Moslems’ Perception Towards Cadbury’s Image Repair & Its Halal Image” (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/my-research-pappepeeeer-presentation-chapter-4-5-bridging-the-knowledge-gaps-of-halal-polemics-in-surburbia-serendah-benoits-image-restoration-theory-malaysian-moslems-perception-towards-ca/).
As I mentioned in my Project Research, Malaysian Moslems nowadays are inclined towards Islamic conservatism after the demise of Islam Hadhari, a policy that was introduced during the premiership of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. In resonance of this consciousness, Malaysian Moslems are becoming more sensitive aware with Islamic essences and particularly, the issue of Halal. Lately, there have been so many issues regarding Halal arisen – most of them are heatedly debated in the social media (such as Halal and non-Halal trolleys, Cadbury’s Halal); and from the perspective of corporate world :-
- The world’s food label behemoths such as KFC (REFER to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3303687/Father-disgusted-KFC-staff-refused-serve-family-BBQ-Bacon-Boss-Box-meal-not-halal.html) and McDonald’s (although there are disputes of the Halal fallacy but a quote from Habib M’Nasria, Director of Quality Control at McDonald’s International in the Halal Summit 2015 claimed the opposite – REFER to http://www.worldhalalsummit.com/business-forum-session-4-balancing-opportunities-and-risk-in-the-halal-food-and-travel-sector/) are producing Halal products ;
- A Halal mineral water by Lumin Spring International Group Bhd, a Malaysian-based company (REFER to http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2015/11/28/mineral-water-for-halal-market-company-launches-premium-product-sourced-from-china-mountain-spring/) which was heavily ridiculed in social media mostly by non Moslems and some quarter of Moslems.
And today, a new local airline is launched and boasts itself as the “first Shariah-compliance” airline, namely Rayani Airline. Due to its corporate identity as this “Shariah Compliance” aviation line, Rayani Airline will have all of its flight attendances to don Shariah-compliant attires, Halal foods will be served and no alcoholic drinks and definitely a prayer will be recited as per Saudi Arabia Airline before every flight to commence.
Now, I am writing this by wearing the hat of a neutral Social Scientist. We can see this from three perspectives :-
- The Moslems ;
- The Non-Moslems; and
- The Corporate World
The bravado and gallant entrepreneurship shown by Mr Ravi (CEO) and Dato Karthiyani (main shareholder) as they are realist corporate players!
The Moslems definitely welcome this airline as an acknowledgement to their Halal needs and for them, supporting any organization professes Islamic-accentuated practices is a MUST. They do not want to be affiliated with “apostasy stigmas” if they reject this. In addition, some of the conservative Moslems associated the MH 370 and MH 17 fiasco as “payback from God” due to the fact that MAS airline flights do serve alcoholic drinks for the Non-Moslem passengers and despite the Malayness body-shaped “kebaya” of the MAS stewardesses, the attire is not conforming to the Shariah-compliance which is that females are to cover their “aurah” and only face and palms to be visible towards strangers. Now, Rayani Air provides this void left by MAS Airlines and Air Asia where the beautiful stewardesses are to do “veil” and to cover their “aurah”. This is very appealing to the conservative Moslems.
On the other hands, the Non Moslems are bewildered, tired & couldn’t understand the Halal craze. They feel Moslems are gullible & easily duped by their Islamic conservatism fanaticism. They wonder why lately the Halal radar is slithering rapidly amongst Malaysians? They are appalled and flabbergasted to see how naive Malaysian Moslems could be – blinded by the “taklid” due to Islam. They have thousands of burning questions – aren’t MAS and Air Asia already serve Halal food? Why do the Malaysian Moslems need to Islamicized everything? Haven’t we give them enough by acknowledging Islam is the official religion; and they need to Islamicize everything?
From the corporate world point of view, there are no emotion involved – purely for profits. Where there is demand, there is opportunity to make money. And Halal market is no puny as it is proved to be lucrative with the large glocal Moslem diaspora. Malaysia has always been on the run to catapult itself as the world’s Halal hub and with the immense rapid growth of our Islamic banking and various Halal hubs constructed, Malaysians understand that Halal is a lucrative business.
To buttress this statement, the initiation of Halal mineral water was made by Datuk Dr Ting Chung Cheng, Lumin International Group Sdn Bhd executive director; and Rayani Air is under the helm of Mr. Ravi Alagendrran as the CEO (REFER to http://ww1.utusan.com.my/utusan/Dalam_Negeri/20140824/dn_14/Rayani-Air-beroperasi-di-LTAM-Januari-depan) and his wife, Dato’ Karthiyani Govindan as one of the main shareholders (REFER to http://www.theedgemarkets.com/my/article/new-budget-carrier-enters-malaysia) – hence the name RaYANI.
I have to say Rayani Air is a brilliant player in the corporate world. They certainly do their research. Green is the colour of Islam and conservative Moslems certainly attracted to this. Another plus point!
Honestly, I am not against any of this especially Rayani Air. In fact, I admire the bravado and gallant entrepreneurship shown by Mr Ravi and Dato Karthiyani as they are realist corporate players! As an amateur Social Scientist, I am thinking that this is an interesting topic to be decipher on parts of the impression of Malaysian Moslem. And I am sure other established scholars are thinking the same as well. I can see that certain Communication framework can be incorporated into this knowledge gap; perhaps in the dimension of corporate image, corporate identity or Integrated Marketing Communication (to promote the brand) / Public Relations (to create awareness). On whole, it is all up to you to choose as you have the purchasing power – either as a Moslems or non Moslem Malaysians.
For conservative Moslems, a “tudung” or veiled stewardess is the most plus point. A superficial as it is for the non-Moslems, this image alone can be a magnet for the Moslem market. There will be countless of “Alhamdulillah” hypes in social media when the Moslem public see these stewardesses donning their Hijab as for them the Shariah-compliance attire is “an eye candy to their sights”. So, all the best Rayani Air!