Call for reliable, efficient zakat collection system

National 2 minutes, 34 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

A CALL for the introduction of a proper mechanism to enhance the efficiency and reliability in the calculation, distribution and presentation of zakat funds was raised yesterday during the closing address of council members.

Dato Paduka Hj Yunos Mohd Noh, a member of the State Legislative Council, in his adjournment remarks for the State Legislative Council meeting 2008, said that a proper and reliable system for the collection and distribution of zakat funds is needed to ensure all those who are eligible to pay the zakat are doing so accurately and the funds reach those that truly deserve it.

He cited the system used by a local bank, Taib, which automatically debits the amount from a person's account and pays out when the fund matures within the intended Hijrah year, as a good example.

Not only does this system work efficiently, said Dato Hj Yunos, but the system has successfully assisted in the collection of nearly $2 million in zakat funds annually since it was introduced.

He said that a mechanism such as this should be widely used by financial agencies that abide by syariah and involve public funds.

He gave an example of Islamic insurance banks and the Employee's Trust Fund, which would appeal to a lot of people since they do not disclose private information and can automatically debit the amount from their funds with permission.

He also said that there are many other ways the government can educate the people on the importance of paying the zakat; quite possibly by introducing such a system where the amount of zakat funds collected annually is raised, as such is the case through Taib.

He said that it is commonly understood that there are those that want to pay the zakat but do not know how to pay or where to pay and also others that are unable to go to the ministry to make payments or do not even know the type of payment that needs to be done.

Others pass on the responsibility to individuals who are unlikely to even know what to do and what they are doing but are going there (the ministry and other places of payments) to pay anyway and hope that they made the right payments according to their capabilities.

People like this, he said, need and should be educated so that they can make the right payments and ensure that their contributions reach those that are truly deserving, such as those under the Baitul Mal welfare programme under the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Hopefully with the introduction of such a system as the automatic debit made by Bank Taib in other Islamic financial institutions, people will be giving out their contributions properly and the funds will reach the right people when it matures within the Hijrah year.

He also said should this system be introduced nationwide then hopefully it will contribute more towards the zakat funds collected annually.

Zakat funds collected in the year 2007 were quite low compared to 2006 and 2005 which was highlighted by His Majesty in his titah for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri 2007.

The Brunei Times