I am deeply saddened to hear that our beloved Kek Lapis – our very own iconic Kek Lapis Sarawak – is being attacked at the moment.
Why, you may ask, is our beloved Sarawak icon – the Kek Lapis – being attacked?
Well, it’s all because of a brand of butter that others have perceived was one of the main ingredients of our beloved Kek Lapis Sarawak.
That’s right, just because the perception is that our beloved Kek Lapis Sarawak is made from the supposedly pig-DNA-tainted Golden Churn brand of butter, our beloved Kek Lapis Sarawak has been called “Kek Babi” by certain quarters…especially in Malaya!
I ask you, would Muslims knowingly produce food that is non-Halal for their fellow Muslims to consume? That doesn’t even make sense!
The only reason we used that brand of butter in the first place was because we thought it WAS perfectly Halal to begin with.
And when you hear Kek Lapis queen Rabiah Amit (news stories below) explain it, the Kek Lapis producers in Sarawak haven’t used that brand of butter in a while (or ever!), anyway.
Not because they somehow sensed that pig-DNA was in the butter, but their economic sense told them that they wouldn’t be able to make money by using the comparatively more expensive Golden Churn brand of butter.
That brand was too expensive so Kek Lapis producers in Sarawak didn’t use it! So no one’s been producing Kek Babi! Full stop!
Just to be extra sure, the producers of our beloved Kek Lapis Sarawak should just display the brand of butter they use, in the packaging material, as well. Just in case there are still skeptics out there.
And by the way, our Borneon neighbours Brunei still have Golden Churn on their supermarket shelves because their Islamic religious authorities didn’t find anything wrong with that brand of butter.
As for us all, let’s do our patriotic duty as Sarawakians and let’s use this upcoming Hari Raya festival to show our support to our beloved Kek Lapis Sarawak…and order and buy and consume as much Kek Lapis Sarawak as we humanly can.
And that goes out especially to our political leaders, who will be having open houses this festive season…lead by example and serve all varieties of Kek Lapis Sarawak to show your endorsement and confidence in our beloved iconic layered cake.
How The Borneo Post saw it:
Kek lapis producers lament poor orders
August 10, 2011, Wednesday
KUCHING: Local kek lapis (layered cake) entrepreneurs are getting the raw end of the deal after the Sarawak food icon was highlighted to contain Golden Churn Creamery Butter.
Sarawak Kek Lapis Entrepreneurs Association president Rabiah Amit said this allegation was negatively impacting the extremely lucrative kek lapis business, especially when sales normally peak just before the festive season.
“Why are people targeting kek lapis?” she said during the association’s courtesy call to Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Datin Fatimah Abdullah at her office yesterday.
Rabiah said they usually stopped taking orders for kek lapis around this time before Hari Raya, but the butter controversy had caused many to cancel their orders since the issue became news headlines. She lamented the loss of customer confidence was completely unmerited because the association members had been using other brands of butter all the while.
“We’ve not been using Golden Churn because it’s expensive,” Rabiah stressed, adding that she had received an avalanche of inquiries about the issue.
The matter went as far as their Selangor distributor’s stock getting confiscated after being accused of selling ‘kek babi’.
“We want to make it clear that our kek lapis is halal,” Rabiah said.
The layered cake business raked in profits amounting to RM6.5 million last year.
To this, Fatimah advised the entrepreneurs to make a list of the ingredients they use and put it up at their respective shops for their customers’ scrutiny.
“At least put up a sign that says you do not use Golden Churn to put your customers at ease,” she said.
On another note, she said ‘Sarawak Best’ committee had also recognised seven kek lapis entrepreneurs as producers of quality Sarawakian products.
“One of the criteria for this recognition is that your products must consist of ingredients that are halal. If butter is one of your ingredients, we will make sure it is halal. If we have doubts, it will be sent to (Jakim) to certify if it’s halal. It’s a very stringent requirement.”
To obtain Sarawak Best certification, products must be approved by a committee comprising Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama), Fisheries Development Authority (LKM), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC).
Fatimah also said some entrepreneurs took it a step further by applying for halal certification from Sarawak Islamic Department (Jais) or Jakim.
Among the seven entrepreneurs who received their ‘Sarawak Best’ certificate yesterday were Rabiah Amit Cake House, D’Wanie Cake Enterprise, Mariam Kek House, D’Rieza Enterprise, Afifi Kek Lapis, S.A Enterprise and Siti Payung (Miri). Also present at the press conference were state Agriculture Department director Lai Kui Fong and Fama director Paza Dan.
How The Star reported the story:
Sad time for ‘kek lapis’
Wednesday August 10, 2011
KUCHING: Layered-cake manufacturers here are upset that they have been victimised with regard to the non-halal status of the Golden Churn Creamery Butter product.
Sarawak Layer Cake Enterpreneurs Association president Rabiah Amit said she had received many queries on whether layered cakes (kek lapis) were halal or not after the brand was found to contain pig DNA and declared non-halal.
“Why is only layered cake becoming the target of queries? We are saddened by statements claiming that layered-cake manufacturers use Golden Churn butter when we have long stopped using it because it is expensive,” she told a press conference yesterday after receiving the Sarawak Best certification from Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah.
Rabiah said she even received a call from a layered-cake distributor in Selangor who told her that a customer came in and called the product kek babi (pork cake).
“Even though the distributor tried to assure the customer that the cakes are halal, he was not convinced.
“Now the distributor is worried that the cakes will be seized for testing. He was in tears and asking me why this was happening, especially as he had received many orders for Ramadan bazaars,” she said.
Rabiah said the association wanted to make it clear that none of its members used Golden Churn butter.
“We use other brands like Butterlite and Anchor Golden Fern and our products are halal,” she said.
She also said their businesses had been affected by concerns over Golden Churn’s non-halal status, with orders estimated to be only a quarter of last year’s amount.
“Our orders are down compared to last year and some customers have cancelled their orders. Normally, this close to the Raya celebration, we would have stopped taking orders already but this is not the case now,” she said, adding that layered-cake entrepreneurs could make up to RM600,000 during the festive season.
As such, she appealed to the public to understand and accept their explanation that no Golden Churn butter was ever used.
The association has 75 members out of more than 200 kek lapismanufacturers in the state.