Former Bank Muamalat CEO says sorry over ‘non-halal’ cheque issue

SEREMBAN: Former Bank Muamalat Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Redza Abdul Wahid has apologised to the Agape Community Church and the Wah Chai Association on behalf of the Islamic banking community after the bank allegedly rejected a cheque issued by the religious group.

Mohd Redza also described it as disturbing that no "authoritative" institution had come forward to clarify the matter.

"Please allow me to clarify this matter. Firstly and most importantly, Islamic banking is for all and truly it has been. This kind of incident has been discussed at the Shariah level and the conclusions are very clear,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Dec 26).

Mohd Redza who served as chief executive officer till November 2019 said cheque payments made by any organisation must be honoured unless there are elements of offences under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) at hand.

Mohd Redza said the error made was individual in nature and did not comply with the spirit of Islamic banking.

"The Prophet Muhammad was exemplary in his treatment of non-Muslims. Until the day he passed away, he fed a blind Jewish beggar every day,” he said, emphasising that Islamic banking was for all.

Earlier today, Bank Muamalat Malaysia denied claims that it refused to accept a cheque from a customer here last week because it was "non-halal."

Its head of banking operations Muhamad Radzuan Rahman said the bank initially rejected the cheque as the name of the payee as written was not the same as the one registered in its system.

"Let me make it very clear that there is no such thing as a halal or non-halal cheque. We are a licensed financial institution which provides banking services including cheque clearing and it is our responsibility to accept any cheque," he said

"That particular cheque was initially rejected purely due to a technical reason," added Muhamad Radzuan, adding that the issue was due to a misunderstanding.

He was speaking after his meeting with Lobak assemblyman Chew Seh Yong and Wah Chai Association representatives here on Monday (Dec 27).

He was responding to a statement by Chew who had asked on Friday (Dec 24) if the bank had rejected a cheque for RM1,500 from a religious organisation for Wah Chai Association simply because it was not halal.

The donation was for a beautification programme at the Jalan Lee Sam cemetery.

Chew had then said a Wah Chai official made the "non-halal" claim to him after the bank rejected the cheque.

Muhamad Radzuan said a Wah Chai representative had deposited the cheque at a deposit box and did not interact with any bank officer.

"When we got the cheque, we wanted some clarification on the purpose of the donation and the source as required under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

"It was then we discovered that the name of the payee on the cheque and in our system did not match. So, we called and asked them to take the cheque back," he said.

He said when Chew tried to bank in the cheque a second time, the bank received clearance to accept it from its headquarters.

"In conclusion, I would like to say that the whole episode was due to a misunderstanding. The bank needs to know the purpose of the cheque and the source.

"So there must have been an issue of how parties interpreted the situation and this was probably how the words 'halal' or 'non-halal' came about.

"Also, we do not know if these were uttered as we were not there," he said.

Chew said he and Wah Chai Association accepted the bank's explanation and would put the matter to rest.

"We had a very cordial discussion and the matter has been resolved.

"In fact, I also received a call from the bank on Friday evening telling me they will accept the cheque," he added.

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