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PUTRAJAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri has urged the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) Baitulmal to simplify the zakat (tithe) distribution process for the needy, especially those affected by COVID-19 outbreak.

“The application needs to go through the prescribed procedures, but sometimes the assistance needs to be expedited accordingly, depending on the case,” he told reporters after attending the presentation of business tithes to the MAIWP Zakat Collection Centre (PPZ-MAIWP), here today.

He cited an example of his chance meeting with a lorry driver in Terengganu who had difficulty in providing for his children and wife due to loss of employment during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“I called my friend and we gave him RM700, he cried. Sometimes we need to help out just like that. That’s why I have instructed the Baitulmal to approve the applications. If we want to really follow the prescribed procedures in detail, then it will be difficult,” he said.

Asked about methods to ensure that no party takes advantage of the distribution of aid, Zulkifli said the Baitulmal committee members could meet more often to review and approve applications from asnaf (those eligible to receive tithe) according to existing procedures.

He also cited an example of the method used by the Musaadah COVID-19 Fund by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) which has its own procedures to facilitate the aid distribution which is not tied up to conventional rules.

At the event, Zulkifli witnessed the presentation of business tithes amounting to RM12.99 million from 11 companies including Tenaga Nasional Bhd, UMW Holdings Bhd, Zurich General Takaful Malaysia, AIA Public Takaful Bhd, Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd, Siti Khadijah Apparel Sdn Bhd and Must Read Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, PPZ-MAIWP chief executive officer Ahmad Shukri Yusoff said the total collection between January and June this year amounted to RM357 million, an increase of nine per cent from RM328.29 million collected in the same period last year.

Ahmad Shukri said although COVID-19 had not affected the zakat collection, PPZ-MAIWP continued to intensify efforts to retain the existing tithe payers as well as to attract new ones to achieve the overall collection target of RM700 million this year, compared to RM683 million collected last year.

— BERNAMA



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