The Star, Sunday June 8, 2008
By TEH ENG HOCK
KUALA LUMPUR: Tithes (zakat) should be distributed across the country so that more of the less fortunate can benefit from them.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi proposed that the tithes be distributed “cross border” and not be restricted by state boundaries.
He said RM2.2bil in tithes were collected nationwide from 2005 to 2007, with Selangor and Kuala Lumpur topping the list.
“Selangor collects no less than RM180mil a year while Kuala Lumpur collects RM160mil,” he told reporters after launching a Salam Hadhari programme on Sunday.
He said the proposal to allow the “tithes to cross borders” did not need to be “difatwakan (religously decreed)”.
“We only need to come up with guidelines. The only constraints are the (existing) states' guidelines, and we must find ways around them,” he said.
Zahid said although religious affairs came under the authority of the respective Malay Rulers, it was not impossible to coordinate the distribution of tithes so that the system could become more efficient.
“If Federal Territory wants to help those in another state, it should be allowed, or to help someone in Penang but who originated from another state.