Transparency in donations urged
SOME Bruneians have called for more transparency on the amount of donations collected every Friday. However, a few of the locals thought otherwise because it might attract people to steal the money.
A resident at Kg Sg Tilong, Hj Ahmad Hj Salleh told The Brunei Times that other mosques should display the money collected on the notice board at the mosque.
The 76-year-old said the transparency would allow the public to know how much money the mosque has collected.
He added that by having the transparency, the public would know where the donation money goes to.
“I want to know whether the money was handed down for orphanage charity, or monetary funds, or for maintaining the mosque,” said Hj Ahmad.
Kg Sg Hanching Imam, Hj Khairul Nizam Hj Md Said, said that the duties of mosque officers are to inform the congregants on the amount of donation collected every Friday.
“However, ever since the recent burglary case, I received a memo from relevant authorities that mosque officers could either display it to the public or not,” he said.
At Kg Sg Hanching mosque, Hj Khairul displayed the donation amount even though the mosque is close to a commercial area.
“Right now, we only display the amount of donation which is being collected after Friday prayer. Before, we informed on our notice board on the total monthly amount of money in the bank,” he said.
The total amount of donation which has been transferred into the bank throughout the year would be confirmed and discussed in a meeting among mosque officers, added Hj Khairul.
“It actually depends on the mosque officers. Some wanted to display it, some do not,” he said.
A village head at one of the mukims in the Brunei-Muara district, who talked on condition of anonymity, said that it is the duty of the mosque affairs to reveal the figures of the donation collected every Friday.
“After the Friday prayer, the money will be counted by a village head, an auditor as well as a selection of Mosque Takmir (committee). After that, the donation will be handed to the Mosque Affairs Department to be transferred to the bank,” he said, adding that the donation will be distributed to orphanage, religious activities and so on.
However, Mosque Affairs officer at one of the mosques in Tutong District who asked not to be named, said that displaying the exact figures might attract “unwanted” persons to steal the money.
“Okay, if we show it to people, wouldn’t that like telling people that the mosque has more than $1,000 on that day? You will never know that certain people will have bad intention when it comes to money,” he said.
A resident at Kg Setia A, Hj Md Jaini Hj Md Yusof said that the figure should not be displayed.
“I think it is much better not to tell the public about the amount of money collected. It should only be discussed in the meeting amongst the mosque officers,” said the senior citizen.
“I know not all Bruneians are bad. But, it depends on the individuals,” said Hj Md Jaini.
A Mosque Officer at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Kg Bolkiah, who only wanted to be called Muhammad, said that the cash collected every Friday would be transferred to the bank before the day ended. “This is also about security issue. The amount of money should only be known by the mosque committee and the mosque officers,” he said.
The bilal ( one who makes the call for prayer) said that the mosques in Brunei are opened before dawn and closed before midnight.
“Sometimes, it is difficult to monitor who enter the mosque after the closing hours. Some mosques have securities, and some do not,” he said.
Early this year, 15 mosques in Brunei were hit by a series of robberies comitted by three locals.
Kg Beribi Mosque Imam, Jeffry Hj Metassim was quoted to say that the three burglars were armed with axes and crowbars used to pry open the cash donation box.
The Brunei Times