MAIS now has free hand over zakat’s millions


The July amendments to a state law has allegedly removed Selangor’s Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) accountability to the state government.

Selangor zakat money, he said, came up to about a third of the state government’s annual revenue which was roughly RM1.4 billion. With this in tow, MAIS, according to an anonymous Pakatan Rakyat leader, could do whatever it wished with its companies without worrying about the state assembly looking over its shoulder.

Patrick Lee, Free Malaysia Today

It’s a bitter pill to swallow for many Selangor assemblymen now that the government may have lost control over the state’s Islamic administrative matters and the estimated tens of millions of ringgit in annual zakat collections.

The amendments made in July seemingly allowed the state’s Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) to be accountable only to the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafudin Idris Shah, bypassing the state government in the process.

The amendments affected the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003.

Previously, Section 16 of the Enactment – which was passed at the July State Legislative Assembly sitting – enabled the director of Selangor’s Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) to be appointed as MAIS’s secretary.

The secretary would also act as the council’s chief executive officer and administrator, and was responsible for carrying out MAIS’s policies and resolutions.

However, the July amendments took that detail out, and allowed the Ruler “on advice of the Majlis” (MAIS) to appoint the council’s secretary.

Speaking under condition of anonymity, a state assemblyman said that the change allowed MAIS to snub summonses from the State Legislative Assembly’s committee.

“In one occasion, MAIS was summoned by a House committee overseeing statutory bodies and subsidiaries. They refused to appear on the grounds that they were not subject to the committee,” he told FMT.

Zakat money

The assemblyman added that MAIS was a statutory body created by the Enactment, and had financial autonomy in its affairs.

“They still have to table their audited accounts before the House… They can appoint their own auditors… But they are not duty-bound to come before the committee.”

“The effect of this, politically, is a government within a government, and Islamic affairs are taken out of the control of the state government,” he said.

This was of special concern, the assemblyman added, given that the amendments also gave MAIS the power to collect and distribute zakat as well as fitrah.

Selangor zakat money, he said, came up to about a third of the state government’s annual revenue which was roughly RM1.4 billion.

With this in tow, MAIS, according to an anonymous Pakatan Rakyat leader, could do whatever it wished with its companies without worrying about the state assembly looking over its shoulder.

“At the policy and state level, MAIS has six or seven government-linked companies under it… They said that the (state) government has no shared interest in MAIS’ corporations.

“So they tried to twist this (to their advantage), by saying that the administration (of MAIS) is under the Sultan… If we raised our voice (against it), they will raise the issue of derhaka (betrayal),” the leader said.

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