Local Islamic bank cause of zakat delay
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Did not submit fund in time to relevant authorities, says Minister
THE delay by local Islamic Bank institution in submitting the zakat to relevant authorities were the main reason for the significantly poor zakat contributions which has prompted the Ministry of Religious Affairs to launch an investigation to the matter, said the Minister of Religious Affairs.
Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Hj Awg Mohd Zain Hj Serudin said this during the fifth day of the Legislative Council Meeting yesterday.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his 2007 titah during Aidil Fitri urged authorities to undertake intense research to find out the cause of the $10 million shortfall.
His Majesty referred to the recent statistics from relevant authorities which have shown the amount of tithe or zakat collected last year had dropped dramatically by $10 million from that of the previous year. Only $8.8 million was collected last year as compared to the $18.9 million collected in 2005.
The Minister explained that the delay caused the zakat to be forwarded to next year thus the combination of both saw an excess for the next year while it saw poor contribution for this year.
"Efforts to research the situation are still being carried out and has yet to be completed," he said.
He added that Brunei would celebrate Aidil Fitri twice a year and it would see double the number of contribution to zakat.
The issue was highlighted by Dato Paduka Hj Puasa Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin, as he pointed out the discrepancies and in reference to His Majesty's titah.
Other zakat issues were also highlighted as the process were questioned by Orang Kaya Maha Bijaya Hj Othman Uking.
Pehin Dato Hj Zain, said that due to the overwhelming number of applicants his ministry is looking to investigate the matter particularly for late payments for government and yayasan housing scheme and people who are destitute.
"Our effort now is to move the ministry forward at fulfilling His Majesty's titah and to resolve the matter as soon as possible with Allah (SWT) blessings," he said.
Dato Paduka Hj Puasa Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin raised the issue of halal-haram as several shops which carries packaged food products are being queried for their halal label as it is sold to members of the public.
In response the Minister said that strict restriction has been imposed for the importation of raw meat while tin food products are in the process of following similar direction.
He advised shopkeeper to separate non-halal food products from the halal brands, as a process is being devised and steps taken to ensure that the halal labels are not being abused. "Talks are currently on the way between neighbouring country on how to identify the halal brand which could be used between us," said the Minister.
Other issues that were raised during the meeting and was being considered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs included raising the rates of the government Haj Pilgrimage, obtaining visa for Haj Pilgrimage, building up new religious schools and mosques as well as clarifications on new converts who have missed attending the introductory courses to Islam.
The Brunei Times