KUCHING: Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman and Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak have denied Sarawak Report’s allegations that they had abused zakat (tithe) collection.
Daud, when approached by reporters after a function yesterday, said TBS had always been transparent about its collection and the manner the funds were distributed and spent.
He said all major projects involving TBS went through its board, of which he is the chairman.
“I cannot answer (the allegations) because of legal implications. Let the authority decide,” he said, adding that the matter had been reported to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
In another event yesterday, TBS general manager Datu Abang Mohamad Shibli Abang Nailie said the Sarawak Report article was inaccurate and did not come from an official source in the Sarawak Islamic Council (MIS).
He explained that MIS had always, through TBS, complied with the provisions of the MIS 2001 Ordinance as far as distribution of zakat to identified recipients were concerned.
“In compliance with the syariah, all distribution of funds, including the zakat and baitulmal (treasury), were done based on the approval of the State Mufti Office, and it was not done ‘sesuka hati’ (at will),” he said at a press conference yesterday.
MIS president Datu Putit Matzwen and State Mufti Datu Kipli Yassin were also present.
Shibli elaborated that the contributions from Muslims through zakat payment, donations and ‘wakaf’ were managed through set rules and standards.
“All collections will be issued with official receipts and recorded for the purpose of preparing annual financial statements and auditing by the National Audit Department every year.”
He added that TBS’s zakat funds management was even certified with ISO 9001:2000 Certification on Oct 24, 2005, and the MS9000:2005 Certification in 2010.
On a related matter, Abang Shibli said TBS, just like other similar organisations, also had the power, under the ordinance, to not just manage funds, but also venture into real estate management and ownership.
“One of the ways is through asset expansion, so MIS, just like any other organisation, will try to retain and expand assets.
“Nevertheless, all project proposals will go through a series of discussions among select committees before it can be approved, just as stipulated in the ordinance.”
He added that MIS, through TBS, controlled different types of funds, namely zakat fund, baitulmal fund and wakaf fund, which were in separate accounts.
“The zakat fund is to be distributed to the asnaf (recipients), dana baitulmal is a public fund which can be used for the purpose of solidifying the ‘ummah’, while the wakaf fund is to be used according to documentation as intended by the ‘pewakif’.”
Abang Shibli also clarified that MIS development projects were not funded by the government, but through baitulmal and wakaf funds.