Brunei invited to join global zakat body
By Nurul Hayatee Badaruddin & Mohd Asyramisyanie Kamis

Malaysia yesterday extended an invitation to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to become a joint founder of the International Zakat Organisation.

The invitation from Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is a joint founder of the organisation, to His Majesty was delivered by the Minister at the Malaysian Prime Minister's Office, Dato' Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, during an audience at the Istana Nurul Iman.

Dato' Ahmad Zahid was accompanied by Dato' Ku Jaafar bin Ku Shaari, High Commissioner of Malaysia to Brunei Darussalam during the audience.

Also present during the audience were Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin, Minister of Religious Affairs; Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ishaaq bin Haji Abdullah, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs; and Awang Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Mohd Yusof, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office.

The Malaysian minister said the formation of the International Zakat Organisation will ensure the distribution of money to qualified recipients through a professional organisation.

During an interview with the Bulletin after a get-together with Malaysians living in Brunei, Dato' Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid said, "His Majesty has given serious attention to forming this international organisation."

The minister added that Malaysia has agreed to allocate RM4.2 million to the organisation's fund to ensure it is set in motion.

This plan to form the International Zakat Organisation has also been discussed with the Minister at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Haji Awang Mohd Zain bin Haji Serudin, during their meeting yesterday.

At the initial stage, the forming of this organisation will be discussed among MABIMS ministers in Indonesia and later on in Singapore.

The Malaysian minister said that Malaysia and Brunei will hold a Perdana Forum together at the Jerudong Park Amphitheatre.

Meanwhile, the State Mufti of Brunei will be invited to take part in television programmes in Malaysia, "Bicara Mufti", to increase the scope of discussions with the State Mufti of Malaysia.

Other issues touched upon during the audience included the use of the Halal logo for consumer goods processed according to the Hukum Syariah for Muslim consumers in both countries. Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid also made note of Brunei's efforts in promoting the Halal logo through the Brunei Premium Halal trademark.

The programme Wakaf Al-Quran, which will begin during the Ramadhan month, was also touched upon during the audience, the minister said. The contribution from this programme will be directed to followers of Islam who live as minorities in other countries. - Borneo Bulletin (3rd July 2008)