MoRA minister: Choose zakat recipients carefully

National 2 minutes, 14 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

GRASSROOTS leaders are responsible for identifying those who are entitled to receive zakat (tithe) assistance in their areas, the religious affairs minister said yesterday.

In a brief interview with the media on the sidelines of a key handover ceremony in Kampong Lambak Kiri, Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman said heads of villages and mukims must be constantly vigilant of what is happening in their areas.

He said appointed village heads must be aware and keep track of the needs of the residents under their care as this was among their responsibilities.

Zakat must be carefully distributed, including to those eligible such as the underprivileged and new Muslim converts, he said, while noting that they have to be thoroughly evaluated to determine whether they are entitled to receive help.

YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin said imams are also obligated to ensure who are worthy of receiving the money under the categories of poor and needy because they are commissioned as zakat collectors or amil throughout the year.

“Imams must also know (who is eligible for zakat assistance) because they are the amil. An amil’s job isn’t just for during the fasting month or for the month of Syawal. They are appointed for the whole year. They must identify those who are eligible for zakat.”

He said aside from the housing assistance provided by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB), his ministry also provides financial allowance to deserving and poor children.

He pointed out that each student who falls under the Zakat Asnaf Fakir Miskin (Funds for the Poor and Needy) is entitled to receive a monthly allowance of $60 for school expenses while another $65 is provided for purchasing daily necessities such as food.

The aim of the financial aid is so the children will be steered away from a life of poverty, he said.

“Currently, the amount given out is $60 for school children, $65 for food per person per month. So if there’s seven people including the husband and wife, then hopefully, they can live on the amount given and not be in a position where there is not enough food.”

The minister also stressed the need for social organisations to come forward in providing assistance to the poor in the sultanate.

“Those eligible can apply for assistance to MUIB. In Brunei, we don’t just leave the poor on their own... as long as everyone works together, not just MUIB and its officers who are screening eligible applicants, but also social organisations that help in this cause and work with MUIB,” said the minister.

The Brunei Times