Muslims will be able to eat at restaurants across the country when new regulations on halal food come into force by the end of the year, in a move hoped to boost the tourism industry.
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Sos Mousine, secretary of state at the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said the regulations are currently being finalised and will be sent to Malaysia for checking before they are implemented.
Mr Mousine, who is a member of the Halal Products Controlling Committee of Cambodia, said halal restaurants have higher standards than others.
There are currently very few halal restaurants in the country, which makes eating out hard for local Muslims and tourists.
The new rules are intended to make it easier for people to open halal restaurants that meet strict standards.
“Anyone, including Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners, will be able to open a halal restaurant, as long as they follow the criteria for halal standards set by the committee,” he said, adding that approved businesses would carry a halal logo.
He suggested that hotels may open halal restaurants that are alcohol-free and do not serve pork, in order to accommodate Muslim tourists.
Halal food adheres to Islamic law, under which pork is forbidden and animals must be slaughtered in a particular way.
Mr Mousine said the regulations would offer peace of mind to Muslim tourists from Arab countries such as Qatar, the Unites Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
“Now we have a direct flight from Dubai to Cambodia with Emirates, more tourists will come if they know they can find halal food,” he said.