Malaysia Food Security Scheme Commerce Essay

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

1 Malaysia Food Security Scheme (SK1M) was introduced by the food safety and quality control department (BKKM) of Malaysia. It was officially launched on 8 November 2010 with the main focus toward the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of food industry in compliance to the Food Cleanliness Regulation 2009. This scheme is based on simple and easy self-assessment approach depending on the industry needs. BKKM is providing guidelines for the SMEs as a reference and also providing the requirement needed to be fulfilled in accordance with the scheme. This scheme is provided free for the Malaysia's local food industries which were categories as the SMEs (Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health, 2010).

The SK1M comprises of three schemes which are the Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme, the 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme and the 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. The food factories should get the recognition in the Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme before applying for the other schemes. It is graded according to the fulfilment of the Food Cleanliness Regulation 2009. This scheme becomes the pre-requisite requirement to obtain the 1 Malaysia Best Scheme from the FAMA and Halal certification from the JAKIM (Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health, 2010).

1 Malaysia GMP Scheme can be obtain if the food industry meet the requirement and get recognition in the Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme and food detectability system under the Food Cleanliness Regulation 2009. This scheme is the pre-requisite requirement for obtaining the 1 Malaysia HACCP scheme. With 1 Malaysia GMP scheme, it can facilitate the recognition of several schemes for example the 1 Malaysia Best scheme, Halal certification scheme, Health certification and others. 1 Malaysia HACCP scheme will be given to the food factories that have comply with the basic requirement of the Food Cleanliness Requirement 2009 and the seven basic principles of the HACCP. This is the stepping stone for obtaining the HACCP certification scheme and as the guideline or the fulfilment of the Food Cleanliness Requirement 2009 (Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health, 2010).

The major aim of SK1M is for the local food industry to comply with the Food Cleanliness Requirement 2009. While for the purpose of exporting, Ministry of Health Malaysia (KKM) suggested food industry to get the recognition in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) or the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) which meet the international standard (Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health, 2010).

1.2 Definition of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Enterprises which are categories as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are eligible to apply for the SK1M. A clear definition has to be made to make sure that the all the agencies know whether there are qualified for the application of SK1M. The establishment of standard definition for SMEs in Malaysia was to create better identification of SMEs over all the sectors. This identification provides a better way for the formulation of SME policies, SME development programmes and provision of technical and financial assistance. The definition of SMEs was based on the number of full-time employees and the annual sales turnover (National SME Development Council, 2005).

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2007), Malaysia SMEs can be divided into 3 major groups according to its major activities or sector. These 3 major groups are agricultural-based SME, Manufacturing-based SME and Service-based SME. Besides, these 3 major groups can be further differentiated into 3 categories which are micro SME, small SME and medium SME. Due to the major activities and size are different, the number of full-time employees and the annual sales turnover of the SME are also different. The complete data of the SMEs based on their number of full-time employees and annual sales turnover are shown in the Table 1 as below.

Table 1: Summary for the approved SME definitions based on number of full time employees and annual sales turn over

Sector

Primary Agriculture

Manufacturing (including Agro-Based) and MRS

Services Sector (including ICT)

Micro

less than 5 employees

less than 5 employees

less than 5 employees

less than RM200 000

less than RM250 000

less than RM200 000

Small

between 5 to 19 employees

between 5 to 50 employees

between 5 to 19 employees

between RM200 000 to RM1 million

between RM250 000 to RM10 million

between RM200 000 to RM1 million

Medium

between 20 to 50 employees

between 51 to 150 employees

between 20 to 50 employees

between RM1 million to RM5 million

between RM10 million to RM25 million

between RM1 million to RM5 million

Source: National SME Development Council (2005).

1.2.1 The distribution of Malaysian SMEs according to the sectors

As mentioned earlier, Malaysian SMEs can be divided into 3 major sectors which are agricultural sector, manufacturing sector and service sector. According to the National SME Development Council (2010), most of the Malaysian SMEs are mainly in the service sectors and followed by the manufacturing sector and service sector. The total of SMEs in Malaysia is 548,267. The 474,706 SMEs are from service sector, 39,373 SMEs are from manufacturing sector and 34,188 are from agricultural sector. Among the 474,706 SMEs from the service sector, 69,782 SMEs are represented by restaurant and hotel. Among 39,373 SMEs from the manufacturing sector, 5,906 are represented by food and beverages. For the SMEs from the agricultural sector, they can be divided into 3 major groups which are plantation and horticulture, fishery and poultry farming. The data are shown in Figure 1 as below.

Figure 1: The distribution of Malaysian SMEs according to the sectors

Source: National SME Development Council (2010)

2.0 Accreditation of SK1M

2.1 Application of SK1M and the procedures of accreditation

Application of this scheme is free of charge. Food industry has to fulfil the requirements needed according to the scheme applied. Before applying for the accreditation of 1 Malaysia Food Security Scheme (SK1M), food industries have to obtain three schemes that comprised under SK1M, which are Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme, the 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme and the 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. Obtaining these three schemes is the main requirement of accreditation of SK1M.

Food industry should get recognition of Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme before applying for 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme and the 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. Accreditation of this scheme is given to food industry that fulfilled the basic requirements of Food Cleanliness Regulation 2009. Garis Panduan dan Senarai Semak Kepada Pengusaha Industri Makanan (Kebersihan Makanan) serves as a guideline for food industry to fulfil the requirements needed to obtain recognition of Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme. After requirements stated in the guideline have been fulfilled, food factory needs to fill in the application form (Appendix A) and hand in to any State Health Department, District Health Office or Food Safety and Quality Division at Putrajaya. Application period is one month from the date of application in condition where all the requirements have been fulfilled. This accreditation is valid for two years and has to be renew three months before the end of validation date.

Accreditation of 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme is given to food industry in order to recognize the fulfilment of Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme and Food Traceability System requirements under Food Cleanliness Regulation 2009. Requirements needed to be fulfilled are stated in Garis Panduan dan Senarai Semak Kepada Pengusaha Industri Makanan (Kebersihan Makanan), Garis Panduan Program Jaminan Keselamatan Makanan, and Garis Panduan Sistem Kebolehkesanan Makanan. After requirements stated in the guideline have been fulfilled, food factory needs to fill in the application form (Appendix A) and hand in to any State Health Department, District Health Office or Food Safety and Quality Division at Putrajaya. Application period is one month from the date of application in condition where all the requirements have been fulfilled. This accreditation is valid for two years and has to be renew three months before the end of validation date.

Accreditation of 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme is given to food industry in order to recognize the fulfilment of basic requirements of Food Cleanliness Regulation 2009 and the seven principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). Requirements needed to be fulfilled are stated in Garis Panduan dan Senarai Semak Kepada Pengusaha Industri Makanan (Kebersihan Makanan), Garis Panduan Program Jaminan Keselamatan Makanan, Garis Panduan Sistem Kebolehkesanan Makanan, and Garis Panduan HACCP 1Malaysia. After requirements stated in the guideline have been fulfilled, food factory needs to fill in the application form (Appendix A) and hand in to any State Health Department, District Health Office or Food Safety and Quality Division at Putrajaya. Application period is one month from the date of application in condition where all the requirements have been fulfilled. This accreditation is valid for two years and has to be renew three months before the end of validation date.

Once the three schemes above have been obtained, food industry can apply for SK1M accreditation. Application of SK1M has to go through a few stages before accreditation is obtained. First is submitting application form and preparation of documents required. If those documents are well prepared, premise audit or inspection will be carried out by officers of Ministry of Health Malaysia. Accreditation of SK1M will be obtained by the food industry once premise audit or inspection is approved. The accreditation flow is shown in Figure 2.

Approval

Accreditation

Application

Documents review

Complete

Premise Audition/Inspection

Compliance

No

Yes

No

Yes

Figure 2: SK1M Accreditation Process

Source: Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health (2010)

2.2 Guidelines of SK1M

There are 4 guidelines can be found in the SK1M during the accreditation process of SK1M. These 4 guidelines are the basic guidelines which are needed to be followed before the Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme, 1 Malaysia GMP scheme and 1 Malaysia HACCP scheme can be accredited. These 4 guidelines are shown as below:

Garis Panduan dan Senarai Semak Kepada Pengusaha Industri Makanan (Kebersihan Makanan)

This is one of the guidelines for food industry in order to fulfil requirements needed for accreditation of Food Cleanliness Inspection Scheme, 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme and 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. This guideline has divided into three main parts. First part is about the immediate actions taken with immediate decision, which include water supply, medical check-up of personnel, food storage, waste disposal, pest control and cleanliness of food control, equipments, premise, toilet and changing room. Second part is about immediate actions taken with short term decision, which include food handling practise. Third part is about immediate actions taken with long term decision, which include factory infrastructure, location, layout, and ventilation.

Garis Panduan Program Jaminan Keselamatan Makanan

This is one of the guidelines for food industry in order to fulfil requirements needed for accreditation of 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme and 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. In this guideline, actions of food safety assurance have been stated in a few elements. Those elements are food handling practice, personnel health, premises maintenance and sanitation, food process control, food packaging, food storage, food distribution, raw material control, pest control, chemical control, and waste disposal.

Garis Panduan Sistem Kebolehkesanan Makanan

This is one of the guidelines for food industry in order to fulfil requirements needed for accreditation of 1 Malaysia GMP Scheme and 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. This guideline serves as a reference for food industry in the implementation of food traceability system. In this system, sources of all food products or ingredients need to be identified and the location of the distribution of produced food products need to be stated. Therefore, documents of the system need to include details of supplier, manufacturer and distributor or seller. These documents must be complete and readily presented or inspected by relevant authorities.

Garis Panduan HACCP 1 Malaysia

This is a guideline for food industry in order to fulfil requirements needed for accreditation of 1 Malaysia HACCP Scheme. Seven principles of HACCP are stated in this guideline, which are hazard analysis, identify critical control points, establish critical limits, monitor critical control points, establish corrective actions, record keeping, and verification of the HACCP plan. Other than fulfilling the seven principles of HACCP, food manufacturer needs to state out the products description, the list of raw materials and ingredients, and the flow chart of food product processing.

3.0 Factors affecting the food safety compliance within SMEs

According to the Yapp and Fairman (2006), there are few factors which can affect the SME in food safety standard compliance. These factors include the lack of money, lack of time, lack of experiences and lack of knowledge.

3.1 Lack of money

Basically, most of the Malaysian SMEs are having the financial problems. This is because the Malaysian SMEs are limited access to the capital markets in both domestic and global. This limited access can be caused by their perception of higher risk, the barrier of information and the higher cost of intermediation for the smaller firms. Due to this, most of the SMEs are often unable to obtain a long-term finance in the form of term debt and equity (Othman et al., 2010). In addition, due to the cost required for the food safety standards and regulations compliance are usually very high. As a result, most of the Malaysian SMEs are unable to afford this kind of fee and thus they choose to ignore the compliance of food safety regulations and standards.

Besides, most of the food safety guidelines provide a clear guidance about the safety of food handling and require the SMEs to send their employees for a formal food safety training for a certain period. But, due to the cost of this formal food training and the turnover of the employees are very high, most of the SMEs decide not to take part in it as they perceived that these kind of training is not an integral part of the business operation and thus it is unnecessary for them to attend even their employees are obviously lack of basic food handling skills (Yapp and Fairman, 2006).

3.2 Lack of time

Basically, the barrier of time is also one of factors which can affect the food safety standards and regulations compliance within the SMEs. Based on the research of Yapp and Fairman (2006), most of the SMEs think that the time required to conduct the HACCP auditing, monitoring and inspection will reduce their time in documenting their practices and control procedures. Due to this, most of them decide not to comply with the food safety standards and regulations. Actually, the main reason of this is the lack of understanding about the importance of HACCP. When the SMEs are not clearly understanding the principles behind the HACCP, the barrier of time will be easily become an excuse for them to avoid the compliance of food safety standards and regulations. Furthermore, most of the SMEs feel that the compliance of food safety standard and regulations is not a part of their business operation as they thought the compliance of food safety standards and regulations is an issue that will be informed by the external agencies. As a result, this kind of reactive attitude has become a barrier for most of the SMEs in practicing the food safety standards and regulations.

3.3 Lack of experienced workforces

Lack of experienced workforces can be regarded as a factor which affects the implementation of food safety standards and regulations within the SMEs. According to the Yapp and Fairman (2006), most of the SMEs are giving excuse that they are unable to find the suitable employee which is experience in conducting the implementation of food safety standards, thus they are unable to implement the food safety standard within their factory or company even they want to. Based on the statement above, it shows that most of the SMEs do not put in enough effort in locating the suitable workforce for their food safety standards implementation as they are giving up easily when the initial search is failure. Due to this, these SMEs must be motivated and educated in order to increase their awareness about the importance of the food safety standard and regulation compliance.

3.4 Lack of knowledge

According to the Yapp and Fairman (2006), most of the SMEs are lack of knowledge about the food safety. For example, the basic principles of the HACCP, the functions of the hazard analysis, the importance of hazard analysis, the understanding of the food legislation and etc. Due to this, they always ignore this part in their business plan. Besides, the absence of the quality management system is also a factor which leads to the lack of knowledge about the food safety. Due to the absence of quality management system, most of SMEs lost a path to acquire the latest info about the food safety issue. Thus, this situation makes most of the SMEs lost their competitiveness in the market share.

4.0 Implication of SK1M

4.1 Implication of SK1M to SMEs

4.1.1 Implication of SK1M to the SMEs from agricultural sectors

For the SMEs from the agricultural sectors, the accreditation of SK1M can help to improve the safety and quality of their products. Generally, most of the products of the agricultural SMEs are the raw materials of the other SMEs especially the SMEs from the manufacturing sectors. Thus, after the accreditation of SK1M, the SMEs from the agricultural sectors can always ensure that their crops are handled in a more significant and effective way such as the correct ways to handle their farm without being contaminated, the correct ways to harvest their crops and the correct ways to process and store their crops during postharvest.

Since the crops are always handled in a safety and quality way. Thus, the quality of the products which are made by these crops will be also very high. As a result, more profit can be generated due to selling prices are raised up significantly when the products are high in quality and highly accepted. Furthermore, as the products come from the agricultural sector can be regarded as the origin of food supply chain, thus the safety at the beginning can ensure the whole food supply chain are safe and then will be able to reduce and minimize the risk of happening of food security issues.

4.1.2 Implication of SK1M to the SMEs from manufacturing sectors

Like most small and medium enterprises around the world, SMEs in Malaysia play an important role in the economy. SMEs provide job opportunities, and creativity and innovation that stimulate the economic growth, which is especially important to us because Malaysia is one of the developing countries. Among 39,373 SMEs' manufacturing sector in Malaysia, a total of 5,906 are made up of food products and beverages sub sector (National SME Development Council, 2010). The competition between these SMEs are intense, hence improving their products in all sorts of area is one of way to differentiate themselves from one another. Besides, improving the product itself is important as the product represents the company. By getting the SK1M accreditation, it would have become easier for them to improve their product in term of safety and quality.

Generally, these schemes would create a fair and healthy competition in the food product and beverages sectors' SMEs (Aruoma, 2006) as these schemes provides an opportunity for these SMEs to show up themselves while maintains the competitiveness of these SMEs with larger constitutions at the same time in order to level up the larger constitutions too. Now with these schemes, these SMEs are not much different from those larger constitutions. This is because these SMEs are able to produce products that complied with standard just like those from larger constitutions. With these SMEs entering the same market as these larger constitutions, larger constitutions were forced to put in more effort to differentiate themselves from SMEs. This will help to push them to produce better quality and safer products as they are no longer monopolising the market share. It's a fairer competition to produce the best product but not a price war which we normally see in the past.

In addition, the SK1M is also helping the manufacturing SMEs in brand building and improves reputation. They could build their brand based on safety and quality assurance. This act will create customer and consumer value which help to differentiate themselves from one and another. Once they gain customer and consumer value, they would have more market share. More market share indirectly increases revenue and stimulate the company growth. The research and development fuelled by this growth in revenue and this growth will continue to create more niche product that helps this company to gain more market share and thus more revenue. As more and more SMEs undergoes this cycle, the economy of the country will grow simultaneously as well. It is beneficial to both SMEs and the country economy.

4.1.3 Implication of SK1M to the SMEs from service sectors

For the SMEs from the service sectors, the accreditation of SK1M can improve their food handling process and thus minimize the risk of foodborne diseases. As mentioned earlier, most of the Malaysian SMEs are service sectors. The examples of service sector SMEs which related to the food are the restaurant, cakes and biscuits shop, coffee shop and etc. Basically, as the SMEs from the service sectors start to apply and accredited with SK1M, the safety and quality of foods which produced by them will be enhanced and improved due to the good handling practice of food materials. Before the introduction of SK1M, these SMEs might prepare their food without separating the raw food and cooked food and thus increase the risk of cross contamination. But, due to the introduction of SK1M, this dangerous practice will be corrected and abandoned.

In addition, as their foods are safer after the accreditation of SK1M, more profits can be earned by the SMEs as the consumers are willing to pay more if the foods are successfully meet their requirement and is safety assumed (Röhr et al., 2005). Furthermore, when the SMEs from the service sectors are accredited with SK1M, they will be able to learn more about the effective way to maintain their products' quality during storage and distribution. As a result, the food provided by the SMEs from the service sectors can be stored for a longer time and thus can be distributed for a longer distance.

4.1.4 Other implications of SK1M to the SMEs

Basically, the food product from these SMEs will eventually sell to its customers. These customers will evaluate the product in various aspects before making any purchase because they know which is good and which is bad. They would look for product which has quality assurance such as assurance in term of HACCP, GMP and GHP accreditation. Unfortunately, most of the time, SMEs do not get such accreditation as the accreditation fees is unaffordable (Yapp and Fairman, 2006). Thus, the introduction of SK1M is allowing these SMEs to get 1 Malaysia GMP and 1 Malaysia HACCP accreditation for free which is then make a big different. This is because the SMEs accredited under SK1M could gain more customers' confidence on choosing their product. SMEs would also gain some market share through this free accreditation.

The quality of products and productivity of the SMEs will increase accordingly with the accreditation of SK1M as more proficient and standardised production being implemented. Then, the harmonisation of local standard with international standard is the key to access the export and import market. Previously stated, customers would prefer to have a safety assured and standardised product; it is the same for importer. They would want product that comply with standard as required. Normally only larger constitutions could do so. There is only a small portion of SMEs could afford the cost of complying with such standards. And so, compared to unaccredited one, accredited one has a stronger stand in the export and import market. The cost of complying with importer's standard has become a barrier for SMEs to market their product. Therefore, the introduction of SK1M, which is free, helps to create a faster track for SMEs to overcome this barrier. Thus allowing them to enter the export and import market.

Traceability is an instrument to warranty food safety. The accreditation from SK1M helps increase traceability of SMEs' products. The implementation of 1 Malaysia GMP and 1 Malaysia HACCP scheme will create an organised and well documented production. Basically, the history, application and location of raw materials and finished products are important in improving trace-back capabilities. The increased traceability will also increase the quality and safety control of product. Controlled supply and quality of raw material is the key to producing consistent and conformity product. Detection of unconformity made easy and the control of standard operation procedures (SOPs) eases the quality control and assurance procedure in which unconformity could be corrected immediately after it is being discovered. The improved traceability also reduces costs such as in the case of product recall and product distribution. Besides, supply management and inventory management could be also improved by increasing traceability.

Overall, the action of giving free accreditation to SMEs brings many benefits to SMEs and the country economy. Actually, the competition between the large constitutions and small and medium constitutions is not very severe before this SK1M is implemented. The implementation spark a new wave of panic among larger constitution as more SMEs get accredited means decrease in market share. This action is expected to pressurize the larger constitution to stay out of their comfort zone and remind them to put in more effort in order to produce product with better quality and safety assurances in order to tally with accredited SMEs.

4.2 Implication of SK1M to consumers

Nowadays, consumers are demanding for food products with high and consistent quality in broad assortments throughout the year and also demanding for competitive prices. (Trienekens and Zuurbier, 2008). Based on the research of Röhr et al. (2005), the increased efforts in food safety on the part of manufacturers may lead to higher prices of foods as the consumers are willing to pay more if the products are food safety assured. Therefore, the implementation of SK1M in SME can lead to increase of price competitiveness between the imported food products and the local SME food products as the implementation of SK1M can be used as a proof of food safety in the SME food products. Due to the increase of price competitiveness, the consumers will be able to purchase the products they wants in a lower price and thus affect the consumers' spending pattern.

Besides, the implementation of SK1M is also able to improve or increase the confident of consumers towards the SME products. This is because the safety and quality of SME products can be improved through the implementation of SK1M. Basically, the SK1M can be considered as a stepping stone to help the SME to familiar with the "Farm to Table" approach. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2003), the "Farm to Table" approach is very useful as it can help to achieve the maximum consumer protection from the food production to the food consumption. Thus, as the producer and manufacturer of SME products becomes more and more familiar with the "Farm to Table" approach, the quality and safety of the SME products will be improved. As a result, the consumers will be safer when consuming the SME products.

Actually, as the price competitiveness, safety and quality of the SME products increase and improved through the implementation of SK1M, the consumers are also getting a lot of benefits. One of the major benefits is the vast choice of products. This is because the local SME products are now be able to compete with the imported products due to the equal product quality and safety but with cheaper price. Thus, the consumers will be able to make their buying decision in a relax mode without worrying about the quality, safety and price of the products which they want to buy and also able to consume the products which they bought without worrying about the food poisoning or any foodborne diseases.

Next, according to the Röhr et al. (2005), the changes in consumer perception of food safety might be influenced by the safety measures which practiced by the manufacturers. Due to this, the implementation of SK1M in the practice of the SME manufacturers may also affect the consumer perception towards the safety of SME food. During the past, most of the consumers might assume that the SME products are unsafe and low quality due to most of the SMEs are lack of advance technology in the food processing or producing their products without complying with any of the food safety standard. But, due to introduction of SK1M, the consumer perception towards the safety of SME products might change as the SK1M might be considered as a representative of food safety standard among the consumers.

Overall, the accreditation of SK1M in the SMEs not only affects the SMEs themselves but also affect the consumer from their spending pattern to their perception. Thus, the introduction of SK1M by the Malaysia government can be considered as an important step to build up and improve the Malaysia economic nowadays.

5.0 The Future Prospects of SK1M

5.1 Harmonization of SK1M with the international standards

The first prospect of the SK1M will be the harmonization of SK1M with the international standards. Basically, as most of the Malaysian SMEs which are involving in the food industry start to apply and accredited with SK1M, the harmonization of SK1M with the international standards will be able to improve their competitiveness not just in the domestic market but also in the global market (Regmi and Gehlhar, 2001). Besides, due to the globalization, majority of the food companies start to export their products through the global food trade. Thus, the SK1M accredited SMEs can have a better way to market their products if the SK1M is successfully harmonized with the international standards.

In addition, the harmonization of SK1M with international standards can also help the SMEs to generate more profits during food trade. The main reason of this is not just due to the market is expanded but is also due to the cost and time required during the food trade are cut down significantly. Basically, the food commodities will need to be tested more than once if the exporters of the food commodities are only accredited with the local standards which are not harmonized with the international standards yet due to the possibility of the existed differences in the followed standards. But, if the local standards which followed and accredited by the exporters are the standards that are already being harmonized, the exported food commodities will only need to be tested once due to the results of analysis are accepted globally in the presence of the harmonization of standards (Lelieveld and Keener, 2007). As a result, the exporter will be able to reduce their cost and time in the product analysis and spend more in the marketing strategy of their products such as the advertisement activities.

Next, through the harmonization of SK1M with international standards, the quality and safety of food commodities can be improved significantly. The main reason of this is due to the SMEs which accredited with the SK1M not only need to produce the food commodities which are fulfilling the local food standards but also the international food standards when the SK1M is harmonized with the international standards. As a result, these SMEs will be motivated and then try their best to modify and develop their products in a more systematic way. Besides, as the SK1M is harmonized with the international standards, the audition and inspection of products safety and quality by the international standards committees must be conducted regularly in order to ensure the food companies who accredited with the SK1M are manufacturing their food products in compliance with the international regulations and standards. Due to this, these food companies will be required to make sure their manufacturing and production processes are always meeting the safety and quality requirement of audition and inspection. Otherwise, their accredited safety and quality status will be lost due to failure in fulfilling the safety and quality requirement. As a result, their products' market and their consumers' confident towards their products might be affected and lost when their accredited safety and quality status is lost too.

After next, due to the globalization, the consumers' diet, lifestyle and preference are also affected and changed. In order to meet the requirements and demands of the consumers, a lot of new food commodities are imported or locally produced and can be seen in the market now. Due to this, it is important for the national food safety and security standards to be harmonized with international standards in order to ensure that all the food commodities which can be found in the market are safe for consumer consumption. Thus, the harmonization of SK1M with international standards can help to control the food commodities that found in Malaysian market more effectively and systematically.

Overall, through the harmonization process with the international standards, the weaknesses of the SK1M can be improved while the strong points of the SK1M can be strengthened. In addition, the harmonization of SK1M with the international standards is also beneficial to the safety of consumer and thus improving the consumer buying behavior towards the local manufactured food commodities.

5.2 Food insecurity can be reduced and minimized

The second prospect of the SK1M is to reduce and minimize the food insecurity. According to the FAO (2006), food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The food safety can be divided into 4 dimensions which include the food availability, food access, food utilization and food stability.

Basically, the introduction of SK1M is expected to reduce the food insecurity through the improving of the 4 dimensions of food security. First of all, as the Malaysian SMEs are starting to apply and accredited with SK1M, the safety and quality level of the food commodities will be improved and enhanced significantly. Thus, the available of the high quality and safety foods will be increased and the consumers will be more relax and confident when choosing the local SMEs' food products as the safety and quality of the local food products are ensured.

Besides, the implementation of SK1M can also help to control the prices of food commodities. The main reason for this is actually due to the Malaysian SMEs who accredited with SK1M will be able to provide and produce the food commodities which have a same or better quality than the imported food commodities, thus reduce the price gap between the local food commodities and imported food commodities. When this situation is happened, the prices of imported food commodities might be lower down in order to compete with the local food commodities for the share of domestic market. As a result, the food accessibility and food stability are improved as consumers can access to more food commodities with better quality and safety but with lower prices now. In addition, as the food prices are stable, the economical stress of the country will be also reduced significantly.

Nowadays, as the human population in the world is growing rapidly, more foods are needed to supply and fulfil the demand of the world population growth. As a result, the sources of supplied foods, the safety of supplied foods, the quality of supplied foods and the storage of supplied foods start to become the main and important issues in all the nations around the world. Through the introduction of SK1M, these four questions are expected to be solved easily. At first, as the SK1M is including the 1 Malaysia HACCP scheme and 1 Malaysia GMP scheme and both of these schemes are applied to the Malaysian SMEs where Malaysian SMEs include the agricultural sector, manufacturing sector and service sector, the source, safety and quality of the supplied foods are then can be ensured in a systematically way. Then, since the source, safety and quality of the supplied foods are enhanced and improved, more food will be stored effectively and thus can sustain for a longer storage period. As a result, the supply of foods can be solved and thus the food insecurity will be also reduced and minimized.

Overall, the increase of global food trade is also creating the opportunity for the globalization of unsafe food. Due to this, the implementation and enforcement of the food security standards and regulations become very important now (Aginam and Hansen, 2008). Thus, through the introduction of SK1M, the Malaysian SMEs can avoid themselves from becoming the victims of the globalization of unsafe food.

5.3 Increase the exportation and economy level of the country

The third prospect of the SK1M is to increase the exportation of the country. Basically, the Malaysian SMEs can be regarded as "the future profits of the country" due to their large improvement space. Due to this, the Malaysia government starts to introduce the SK1M which is free for the application in order to attract the Malaysian SMEs to be accredited with it. This step can be considered as a stepping stone for the Malaysian SMEs so that they can improve themselves through the accreditation of SK1M. In addition, this step can be also considered as a way that Malaysia government uses to nurture "the future profits of the country". This is because their improvements will also result in the improvement of the Malaysia economy in the future.

Due to the accreditation of SK1M, the SMEs' products which are high in competitiveness can be produced and manufactured. Thus, more SMEs' products become available for exportation. As a result, more profits will be generated and thus improve the Malaysia economy level. Besides, as more local food commodities are available, the Malaysian food prices will be more stable due to more choices of foods. As a result, the possibility of the inflation can be reduced and minimized significantly.

6.0 Conclusion

The introduction of SK1M in Malaysia can be considered as an advance move made by the Malaysia government in order to create a fairer competitive condition for Malaysian SMEs. Through the accreditation with the SK1M, the Malaysian SMEs are expected to grow up or upgrade themselves in order to face the new challenges of the globalization such as the global food trade.

As the application of SK1M is free of charge, this feature can help a lot of Malaysian SMEs which are facing a lot of financial problems. In general, the fee of the regulation and standard accreditation is very high and is usually unaffordable by the SMEs. Thus, the introduction of SK1M is successfully providing an alternative way for them to connect themselves with the standards and regulations and thus create a golden opportunity for them to grow up and to have a more standardize processing way.

Besides the SMEs, the introduction of SK1M is also affecting the consumers. As the SMEs keep on upgrade themselves, more food commodities with better quality and safety level can be manufactured and produced. Due to this, more food choices are created and thus most of the food manufacturer might reduce their product prices in order to survive in this intense market.

Overall, the introduction of the SK1M can be regarded as a way to improve the competitiveness of Malaysian food industry. As the SMEs still have a lot of improvement spaces, their upgrades can be considered as a great benefit for the Malaysia in this moment and also in the future.

References

Aginam, O. and Hansen, C. 2008. Food Safety and Trade Liberalization in an Age of

Globalization. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

Aruoma, O. I. 2006. The impact of food regulation on the food supply chain.

Toxicology. 221:119-127.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2003. Assuring food safety and

quality. Guidelines for strengthening national food control systems. United States: Joint FAO/WHO Publication.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2006. Food Security.

(Online)

ftp://ftp.fao.org/es/ESA/policybriefs/pb_02.pdf. Retrieved 1 May 2011.

Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health. 2010. 1 Malaysia Food Security

Scheme. Putrajaya: Malaysia Ministry of Health.

Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health. 2010. Garis Panduan dan Senarai

Semak Kepada Pengusaha Industri Makanan (Kebersihan Makanan). Putrajaya: Malaysia Ministry of Health.

Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health. 2010. Garis Panduan 1 Malaysia

HACCP. Putrajaya: Malaysia Ministry of Health.

Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health. 2010. Garis Panduan Program

Jaminan Keselamatan Makanan (PJKM AM): Bahagian 1. Putrajaya: Malaysia Ministry of Health.

Food Safety and Quality Division, Malaysia Ministry of Health. 2010. Garis Panduan Sistem

Kebolehkesanan Makanan Bagi Pengusaha. Putrajaya: Malaysia Ministry of Health.

Lelieveld, H. and Keener, L. 2007. Global harmonization of food regulations and legislation - the

Global Harmonization Initiative. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 18:15-19.

National SME Development Council. 2005. Definitions for Small and Medium Enterprises in

Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Bank Negara Malaysia.

National SME Development Council. 2010. SME Annual Report 2009/10. Kuala Lumpur: Bank

Negara Malaysia.

Regmi, A and Gehlhar, M. 2001. Consumer preferences and concerns shape global food trade.

Food Review. 24(2):2-8.

Röhr, A., Lüddecke, K., Drusch, S., Müller, M. J. and Alvensleben, R. V. 2005. Food quality and

safety - consumer perception and public health concern. Food Control. 16:649-655.

Trienekens, J. and Zuurbier, P. 2008. Quality and safety standards in the food industry,

developments and challenges. International Journal of Production Economics. 113:107-122.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2007. Malaysia Small and Medium Enterprises

Building an Enabling Environment. (1st edition). Kuala Lumpur: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Malaysia.

Yapp, C. and Fairman, R. 2006. Factors affecting food safety compliance within small and

medium-sized enterprises: implications for regulatory and enforcement strategies. Food Control. 17:42-51.

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.