Zakat application needs more time to process
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Religious Affairs will not be using its 89-day client charter or Tekad Pemedulian Orang Ramai (TPOR) to process zakat assistance applications anymore due to the mounting number of applicants.
Minister of Religious Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awang Othman said this yesterday during the 12th Session of the Legislative Council.
He explained that applications need to be discussed thoroughly and thus entail more time to process.
The minister said that zakat must be carefully distributed, including to eligible individuals aspiring to become entrepreneurs.
The minister said that around $1.0 million zakat has been allocated for the entreprenurship programme for underprivileged people.
He stressed the need to carefully examine if the applicants can carry out their business plan, noting the experience of the ministry where some recipients sold the facilities given to them to start an enterprise.
YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin noted that an applicant must be certified as capable of carrying out a business plan before he can avail of assistance.
“This can be ensured when that person participates in the Asnaf Zakat Empowerment Programme (PROPAZ) at the Youth Development Centre (PPB) or (other) PROPAZ programmes in the future,” said the minister.
He added that the zakat’s entrepreneurship programme may be widened in the future.
The minister received well the suggestion of LegCo member YB Hj Jumat Akim, who proposed that applicants enrolled first in the course before they can avail of the zakat’s entrepreneurial assistance.
Similar to the entrepreneurship programmes, the minister also said that zakat distributions have been extended to assist the education of eligible recipients.
“Currently, there are people who have been given pocket monies as education assistance, and they included new converts who are not citizens of Brunei. They are studying in higher education institutions like Universiti Brunei Darussalam and had to pay for their studies,” he said.
In addition, the minister also said that zakat assistance also includes provisions for medical treatment not covered by government, involving permanent residents also.
The minister shared that zakat collection from company properties reached $16.83 million last year compared to just $13 million the previous year.
Paying zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The Brunei Times