The CAP book published in 2006 highlighted the problem of use pig’s hair in bristle brushes.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) had warned consumers as early as 1980s – three decades ago – and went on to publish a book titled Halal Haram on the subject of halal products in 2006 but the warning has fallen on deaf ears.

One of the products that CAP deliberated were paint brushes which has been lately reported in a Bahasa Malaysia daily. CAP would like to congratulate the Ministry of Domestic Trade Co-operatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) for following up on the discovery of the 90 paint brushes.We hope that harsh action will be taken against the perpetrators.

Generally, brushes made from pig’s bristles are labelled as ‘pure bristles’ and may range from paint brushes to brushes for songkok, shoes, toothbrushes, and shaving brushes.

Brushes made from pig’s bristles are comparatively much cheaper than those manufactured from hair of horses and donkeys. Moreover, the bristles are better at retaining paint.

Apart from brushes, some branded expensive bags are also made from pig leather. However, it is commonly used in products from China and other developing countries.

Other items that are made from pig’s skin include leather gloves, jackets, shoes, handbags, and wallets.

Most pig leather looks like suede leather (from cow hide) but has spots that look like depress points or small holes.

Another item to safely stay away is crockery labelled as “fine bone china” because is made from animal bones. Muslims are advised to use crockery made from either glass or ceramic.

CAP would reiterate our call to the government to create a separate Halal/Haram Act to deal with the issue and place it under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM) and for the Muslim community to be more diligent when buying products that may contain haram substances.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 6 February 2017