HM declares Brunei ‘free from poverty’

National 2 minutes, 55 seconds


BRUNEI is now justified to be labelled as "free from poverty", His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam declared yesterday during the distribution of documents representing the zakat (tithes) to 4,084 families, who have been identified as fakir miskin (poor).

"It is my view that if, what will be carried in a few moments, really constitutes as the official list of fakir miskin, then when I have handed out the (zakat) documents to them, the country, from that moment on, is justified to be labelled as free from poverty," the monarch said prior to distributing about $90 million worth of zakat funds at a ceremony at the International Convention Centre.

"Today, our country's history is being written in gold ink, as we are now moving towards freeing ourselves from poverty," His Majesty said.

His Majesty spoke of how this achievement was not accomplished by chance, but through thought-out planning, together with the belief that we are able to do so.

The benevolent ruler said that Allah (SWT) understood the aim of such action, and since it was in line with His wishes, He will grant this ambition to an extent that it would much more than we can ever anticipate.

"Alhamdulillah, let us all recognise it as a reality and not (just) a dream," His Majesty said. The families that received the zakat documents yesterday were the recipients identified as fakir miskin by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council as of July 31, 2009.

His Majesty said that if there were still any individuals who have been left out from the list and feel that they too have a right to the zakat funds, then they should seek the relevant authorities to look into their situation and determine whether they can be categorised as fakir miskin or not.

"If there are still any individuals who wish to make these claims, then this is normal and should not become a black mark that will (tarnish) the new history that we are experiencing now," His Majesty said.

The monarch also spoke how the authorities in charge of collecting and distributing the zakat, should be more proactive and sensitive to monitoring and assessing the status of the community who are eligible to receive the zakat.

They should not simply wait for the applicants to come forward because not everyone will be able to, His Majesty said, while adding that there are even some that may not even know where or who to go to. His Majesty said that this scenario will pose as a challenge to leaders of the community.

In return, His Majesty urged zakat applicants to adhere and to accept the rulings made by the relevant authority, as this judgment is made based on the guidelines set.

To the families that received the zakat yesterday, the monarch hoped that they would utilise their share of the zakat wisely and prudently by avoiding the extravagant and wasteful lifestyle.

"Their respective shares (of the zakat) can help them organise their lives for the better," His Majesty said. "They are no longer labelled as fakir miskin, at the very least, for the time being".

It is not impossible, His Majesty added, that among these families, there would be some that do not wish to go back to their old lives. Instead, through strong determination and diligent efforts, they will be labelled as those who "no longer need zakat assistance".

The Brunei Times