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Friday January 13, 2012

No zakat fund misuse

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) has stressed that it can use government grants or zakat (tithe) funds to defend the honour of its religious institution.

Zakat funds may be used by our Islamic affairs minister or other MAIWP official to pay for legal fees in order to defend the sovereignty, honour, dignity and credibility of the Islamic institution,” MAIWP secretary Datuk Che Mat Che Ali said.

“However, let me clarify that we paid the legal costs with the government grant. We did not use tithe funds even though we can also use the money as explained by the Federal Territories mufti the day before,” he said.

He also said the government grant, which was used to settle legal fees incurred by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom and two others, was kept in the same bank account with tithe funds.

This had led to an allegation that tithe funds were used to pay the legal fees, said Che Mat, who is also Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department director.

The tithe funds were temporarily deposited in the same account with a government grant of RM700,000 last year, he said after announcing last year's collection of MAIWP's Tithe Collection Centre (PPZ) here yesterday.

The Auditor-General's Report 2010 said RM63,650 was withdrawn from MAIWP's tithe funds to settle advance legal costs incurred by Jamil, Che Mat and Federal Territory syarie chief prosecutor Shamsuddin Hussain when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim named them as respondents for delaying action in his 2010 qazaf (false accusation of illicit sex) application against his accuser Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Che Mat said zakat, donations and government funds were all in the same account.

“We cannot be opening accounts everywhere as our accounts are audited by the Auditor-General,” he said.

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