Thursday January 17, 2013
Share info on zakat expenses, religious councils urged
PUTRAJAYA: State Islamic religious councils have been asked to consider organising regular publicity blitz on how zakat (tithe) is spent.
The move, according to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, would debunk tithe payers' perception that the councils were only good at collecting tithes.
He acknowledged that most of the time, the councils only announced the amount of tithe collected without telling the public how or where the money was spent.
“I think it's time that the councils share the information with the public. It is just like a report card and I am sure the public, especially tithe payers, would be very happy knowing how their zakat has benefited the communities,” he said.
There are several categories of tithes collected in Malaysia, with the zakat fitrah and zakat harta being the most known. Zakat fitrah is paid before Hari Raya Puasa and Malaysians do it during the fasting month, while zakat harta which includes income from salaries and businesses is paid on a yearly basis.
Although the collection from zakat fitrah ran into several million ringgit, people are interested to know how the zakat harta collection is being spent.
Jamil Khir also announced that last year, the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council collected RM410mil in tithes.
“From the total amount collected for zakat harta, RM264mil was from salaries. With better awareness among Muslims about paying tithe, we could soon see figures reach half a billion ringgit,” said Jamil Khir who is also the council's chairman.