Thursday, 10 September 2009

This year's zakat story

Headnote : For last year's zakat story, click -> here.

The state of Johor has, for the first time, implemented a two-tier rate for zakat fitrah this year. For those of us who consume the normal grade of rice, the fitrah is fixed at RM5.00. For others who eat the higher grades, the rate is RM7.50 per person. Last year, the zakat fitrah in Johor was RM6.50.

In my posting last year, I reproduced a table from the PM's Department, showing the different fitrah rates for all the states in Malaysia. The same website does not have a new table for this year, so I had to google and read various sources to come up with a table of my own.

It is interesting to note that some states have increased their rates while some have made a reduction. While Johor has decided on a two tier rate for this year compared to the single rate of last year, Perlis has gone the other way. Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan, which had relatively low rates last year, have now made upward revisions to be more in line with the national average.


As a comparison, Singapore's fitrah rates are S$4.50 / S$6.50 per person, the same as the previous year. In that country, you can pay your fitrah by phone service if you so choose. You simply express your intention (niat) and then dial a 1900- number.

I am sure the learned people at Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) has studied this process in detail before deciding that it is an acceptable practice. While I admit that technology is meant for us to be more efficient, paying zakat by way of a telepoll service is stretching it a bit too far. It removes the interaction between the contributor and the amil or collector, to the extent of making it so impersonal. I understand that Kedah has launched a similar method using SMS.

On the other hand, I applaud MUIS for publishing in Singapore's Malay daily paper, a detailed breakdown of the amount of zakat (fitrah and harta) collected for the year and how this collection was distributed. Their total distribution for last year is about S$18.5 million.

Majlis Agama Islam Johor provides similar information about zakat collection and distribution in their website. Last year, MAIJ collected RM100.7 million.

I am trying to compile some data about zakat in the other states but only a few publish the statistics in their website. In fact, some do not have websites at all. For those who have, the display of zakat information shows a fair degree of professionalism and transparency. MAIDAM Terengganu's website for example, has zakat collection data broken down to district level.

20 comments:

HLiza said...

Part zakat ni biasanya serah kat org lelaki..

Chahya said...

I remember I "stole" that PM's dept zakat table from your blog last year ;P
http://chahyacandle.blogspot.com/2008/09/zakat.html
This year I think I'll just link direct to your blog :)
Oldstock, Selamat membersihkan diri dan harta.

Oldstock said...

Hliza,

What would you ladies do without us men :-)

Oldstock said...

Salam Chahya,

Feel free to copy the table. Good information is worth sharing.

Rina said...

Hi Mr Oldstock!

By now, I'm sure my mom totally agree with you. Last weekend, I proudly told my mom that this year I'm going to pay Zakat via online but she laugh out loud at me and said: "Hilarious! Who will be the amil on your computer screen then? Your internet provider?" After second thought, I paid "manually" :)

Talking about Singapore. I am really impress with their management & systematic way in their country administration. Seriously, they really good! This remind me -

Somewhere early this year, I met a client in Singapore (A government institute) with my boss, Dianne and she try to persuade this client to closed a deal worth almost half million of US dollar. What amazed me was that the client main concern is the budget wise. His interest is to spend the budget (which claimed was initiated from a collection of Singapore citizen taxes) which at the end will be useful not only to the institute but to the tax payers as well. He showed us where does the figures goes and I said wow! Their system really awesome, because whatever they spend will be transparent to the public!

In Malaysia..

Based on my past experiences, most of the government institute - their main concern is a budget wise as well but..

I never came across to the similar case, what I can share with you is that 99.9% of them are selfish! Not even close to think about the tax payers but their main concern is "Aku, aku, Kau, kau!"

Meaning: Whatever spend by one department (which they all live under one roof) using that department budget, the materials can only be used/accessed by that department only, the rest are strictly disallowed. Teruk kan?? I am so pissed!

But then again, the Singapore government servant as mentioned earlier, end up to be my friend today and I discovered, he is Malaysian!

So, our HR minister was right, higher pays lead to a better performance :) But eyy, Malaysian gomen servants received numerous incentives what??

3yearshousewife said...

That's a good use of technology and good to know where the zakat money has gone to. I agree with Hliza, zakat is a man thing. Let my husband worry about that.

Aizan Suhaira said...

I've a friend who works for the 'jabatan kemasyarakatan' (or something like that) in Johor. She mentions that while the govt has provided sufficient funds to help the poor, the money doesn't reach these people. It usually stops somewhere in the middle of the 'supply chain'....

I'm sure we have no problems paying zakat... but the issue is whether the money reaches the pockets of the poor.. or are there people out there buying themselves a luxury car with the money meant for needy?

Yeah, yeah. Off topic. Sue me.

razifembi said...

Yeah in Penang i've paid RM 7.00 per person for this year.

But if not mistaken, for last year I've paid about RM 7.30 ...

Why there were many different between states? might be the measurement scale use to weight the beras were different too ...

In kelantan their use the measurement called Gantang Baghdad ...

D said...

Oldstock,
Thanks for the update of information - just for general knowledge purposes. This will be my second year paying zakat for my children and I after 11 years of being in the same boat as HLiza and others.

Over here in the UK, the rate ranges between £2 - 3.50, depending on area/mosque. I have to pay £2.50 each this year.

As for the akad with the amil, it's conducted ever-so-simple here. Kalau kat Malaysia, I tengok my FIL (amil)buat so proper (macam nak akad nikah pulak) and siap berdoa, etc. Online zakat bolehla sir...

ladymarko said...

Informative. Thank you.

Oldstock said...

Hi Rina,

I appreciate your views on the civil service of the two countries. It is worthy of a blog posting by itself. But I'll leave that for another day.

Wishing you a nice weekend.

Oldstock said...

3yrshwife,

Hopefully someday, we'll see all the zakat agencies publish their statistics.

Oldstock said...

Aizan,

I believe that publishing the collection and distribution figures is the first step in transparency. Yes, we may have doubts as to whether the money actually reach the deserving parties. With better access to information, we (or our elected representatives) should then be able to raise more questions relating to the disbursement process.

Oldstock said...

Razif,

My discussion on the different rates by different states and the term gantang baghdad can be read in last year's post.

Oldstock said...

D,

Yes, online zakat memang dibolehkan. I'm only saying that paying fitrah by telepoll or sms is too impersonal.

Dua pound setengah seorang lebih kurang RM14 kan? Mahal jugak tu ye...

Oldstock said...

ladymarko,

you're welcome.

Nurie said...

kat riyadh ni takde pulak amil kat masjid or counter zakat kat malls for zakat fitrah..
Kata kwn arab my hubby they usually bagi zakat kat those people yg minta sedekah atau yg cuci kreta kat parking lots...(according to harga beras la jugak)

so the money goes direct to the needy.

Andrea Wh@tever said...

Dear Oldstock,

One more good deed to go before Raya. I have tagged you to help in creating awareness of the plight of one of our fellow bloggers. Please visit my blog. Thanks

Oldstock said...

Nurie,

Paying the zakat directly to the needy is perhaps the best way. Kat negeri arab tu memang susah nak cari ornag miskin tapi kita boleh fikirkan tentang asnaf yang lain. Fi sabilillah is the easiest to identify.

Oldstock said...

Andrea,

Tag has been answered. Hoping that the young lady will get enough funds for her surgery.