Sinar Harian wins first Kajai Award for Illegal Meat Cartel report

izwan afham kajai
izwan afham kajai

KUALA LUMPUR: Sinar Harian won its first Kajai Award for their exposé titled “Kartel Daging Haram” or Illegal Meat Cartel, published last year.

Izwan Rozlin, 39, and Muhammad Afham Ramli,32, were announced as the recipient of the awards during the Malaysia Press Institute (MPI) Petronas 2021 Press Awards last night.

They received RM30,000 cash prize, a trophy and certificates for their achievements.

The two said it was more than just a mere task for them but a responsibility to the people.

“We faced many challenges when doing ground work including getting sources that can be used and quoted in our reports.

“A heavy in-depth report such as this requires legitimate sources and series of reports which takes time to be completed,” Izwan said last night after the awards.Izwan is also Sinar Harian's Head of Crime Desk.

Afham added that the raids carried out by the authorities was the peak of the investigation process, leading them to go full throttle in reporting the issue.

He said the matter touched on the sensitivity of Muslims in the country and needed to be exposed.

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“We were there. We saw how the situation was and how sensitive it was for Muslims.

“This was no longer a mere task for us anymore, it was something bigger. It was vital that we uncover the syndicates,” he said.

Izwan and Afham also won Best Investigative Report for the Illegal Meat Cartel report, bagging another RM10,000 and a trophy.

They expressed their gratitude to Sinar Harian’s former editorial executive advisor, the late Datuk Abdul Jalil Ali; former chief editor, the late Datuk Baharom Mahusin and editor-in-chief Rozaid Rahman.

In December 2020, Sinar Harian exposed an illegal meat cartel smuggling frozen meat from China, Ukraine, Brazil and Argentina.

The meat had been repackaged with the halal logo before being sold nationwide.

The syndicate was caught red handed by authorities during a joint raid operations at a warehouse in Senai, Johor.

The Sinar Harian team spent weeks working on the ground gathering information on the syndicate.

Following the report, Johor’s Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had opened an investigation paper in regards to the meat smuggling case.

A director and manager from the involved company were charged with 21 counts of owning, offering and using the Halal logo without approval to sell frozen meat.

Also charged were four personnel from the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department for offences involving the illegal meat cartel between December 2016 to December 2020.