Friday, December 6, 2013

What about the Sultan of Selangor?

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — A man suspected of stealing from a mosque donation box was beaten to death by the public at Masjid Pandan Indah in Ampang here yesterday morning.
Police said Shahrizal Petra, 20, was beaten up by men using either a cane or a pipe after he was allegedly caught red-handed.
He died on the spot.
Police have detained four men for questioning.
Shahrizal, the son of a former MP, was working part-time at a cybercafe after the death of his mother five months ago.
He was living with his stepfather at Orkid Apartment, Bukit Indah, and was described by his friends as a “loner”.
“Shahrizal was a friendly person, but after his mother’s death, he began to withdraw from his friends and kept to himself,” said a childhood friend, Nazrin.
Shahrizal’s body was taken to Kuala Lumpur Hospital for a post-mortem.
It was learned that there were severe cuts and bruises on his arms. He also suffered cuts on the back of his head.
KUCHING: Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak’s (TBS) alleged penchant for spending hundreds of millions of the zakat (tithe) collections on mega complexes is riling DAP’s Muslim members.
Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen’ special assistant Abdul Aziz Isa is bent on getting TBS to explain their extravagance which has allegedly resulted in many poor and needy Muslims in the community being deprive or reduced of aid.
Abdul Aziz yesterday detailed the TBS projects and questioned the rationale behind pumping huge amounts of tithe money into these projects.
He listed the Islamic Information Centre (IIC) and Kuching Islamic Complex (KIC), both in Kuching, and the soon-to-be-constructed Sibu Islamic Complex (SIC) and Miri Islamic Complex (MIC) (photo), as TBS’ mega-projects.
“Which law in Islam that allows the TBS to use its zakat money to build such buildings?” asked Abdul Aziz, who also manages DAP’s service centre in Tupong, Kuching.
Earlier this month Abdul Aziz said he had written to TBS on Aug 20 to ask for the charitable body’s financial reports for the years 2010 to 2012 but was yet to get a reply.
Abdul Aziz had written to TBS in response to state assistant minister for Islamic affairs, Daud Abdul Rahman’s disclosure that TBS had used money from zakat contributions to fund the projects but it had not stopped their aid to the poor.
“The main issue here is the management of the fund and the priorities of the use of fund. What is the annual revenue of TBS?
“What is there to boast (about) when TBS is spending hundreds of millions to build posh offices and only spending RM2 million annually for the poor?”
“It is meaningless if TBS is getting hundreds of millions from the zakat payers, government funding and other sources while only giving RM2 million for the poor,” Aziz added.

It’s public funds
TBS, he said, must be transparent and accountable to public and be ready at all time to release its financial reports to any member of the public.
“They (TBS) should have copies of their financial statement ready for public inspection and viewing at any time. It is incredulous that TBS took a month and yet still fail to respond to a request from a member of the public to have copies of its financial report.
“TBS has its main source of revenue from the zakat paid by the Muslims. It is just like an alternative Inland Revenue Board, collecting tax from the public.
“As such, it owes the public a duty to make full and frank disclosure of the management of its fund. The zakat payers want to know how TBS used their zakat money and where their money goes,” Aziz stated.
He also added that having received no reply from TBS for his earlier letter, he had on Sept 11 sent another one.
Meanwhile online investigative portal, Sarawak Report reported that although TBS spent between RM30 million to RM40 million annually to help the needy and poor, the amounts ‘pale into insignificance besides the hundreds of millions allocated to several majestic “Islamic Centres’ being built in Kuching, Miri and Sibu”.
One such centre in Kuching was RM90 million and being constructed by Naim Cendera, a company strongly identified with Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, and chaired by his cousin Hamed Sepawi.
Similar projects worth RM100 million were also commisisoned by the TBS board in Sibu and Miri.

PAS: Why is MAIS assisting Perlis?

PAS Selangor wants to know why the state's zakat money is being used to aid other states.
PETALING JAYA: Selangor PAS state commissioner, Abdul Rani Osman, wants an explanation from Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS) – Selangor zakat body – on why more RM10 million of the state’s zakat collection was handed over to the Perlis Islamic Religious Council.
The decision was made during the Selangor State Legislative Assembly sitting last week and a perplexed Abdul Rani wants to know why Perlis was singled out.
“Why were other northern states, like Kedah andKelantan, disregarded?” he asked. “According to LZS, both these states have already received zakat money but I have heard otherwise. So I want black and white proof of this claim.”
Abdul Rani told FMT that the total amount of zakat allocated for Perlis was over RM10 million and that the money has already been disbursed in the state.
“This sum of RM10 million is a lot of money,” he said. “We’re not against helping Muslims in Perlis if there is a need but we want to know what that need is.”
“Muslims in Selangor have a right to know what their money is being used for and we must be able to tell them. It is an issue of transparency.”
The distribution of state zakat funds falls under the jurisdiction of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS).
Many Muslims still need aid
FMT earlier reported that recent amendments to the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 now holds MAIS accountable only to the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Shararafudin-Idris Shah, and not the state government.
This means that MAIS now has the power to collect and distribute zakat and fitrah according to its wishes without the state assembly looking over its shoulder.
“Has MAIS adequately distributed the funds to all the needy in Selangor before channelling the rest to other states?” Abdul Rani asked.
“As far as I know, there are still many Muslims in Selangor badly in need of financial aid. So don’t get angry or fault them for turning to other religious groups for the aid that LZS is meant to be giving them.”
Selangor zakat funds make up a third of the state government’s annual revenue, which is about RM14 billion.
Last year, LZS collected RM336.7 million from 167,990 zakat payers of which RM330.4 million was distributed to 287.101 recipients in the state.

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