Zakat, a tithe contributed by Muslims, is not used to fund the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore’s (MUIS) operating expenditure, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Thursday (Jan 29).
MUIS is funded by its General Endowment Fund, which has a number of income sources, including property, inheritance and investment income, and fees for services such as Halal certification, said Dr Yaacob. Zakat funds are not part of the General Endowment Fund and are separately accounted for, added the minister.
Dr Yaacob said this in response to a question by Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Zainal Sapari, who asked if any zakat was used to fund MUIS’ operating expenditure. Mr Zainal also asked what the total amount of zakat collected by MUIS was, and the breakdown of allocation of zakat to the beneficiaries.
HOW ZAKAT WAS USED
Dr Yaacob said the amount of zakat collected in 2013 was S$28.4 million, while the total for 2014 has not yet been confirmed through audit.
Of the S$28.4 million in 2013, about S$11 million, or 40 per cent, was disbursed to the needy through direct financial assistance and empowerment programmes, said Dr Yaacob, and 5,263 families were helped through direct financial assistance in 2013.
Another 40 per cent was used to support mosques and madrasahs through grants, programmes, and funds for the training of teachers, mosque religious officers, volunteers and youth development officers, he added.
The remaining zakat was used for dakwah, or the propagation of Islamic knowledge, and public education, the development of Islamic education, and the funding of expenses incurred in the administration of Zakat, as well as assistance for Muslim converts, said Dr Yaacob.