KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — A PAS assemblyman has denied claims that his party was collecting alms from Muslims, saying that it was simply collecting mandatory contributions from party members.
Penaga state assemblyman Mohd Yusni Mat Piah said the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) should instead focus on addressing the issue of non-Muslim MPs giving out the Islamic tithe, or “zakat fitrah”, which he said has already caused discomfort among Muslims.
“That is not zakat. The mandatory infaq is not zakat fitrah,” Mohd Yusni told Malay Mail, referring to claims that PAS was collecting “infaq Ramadan” that has been described as alms.
“It is collected from members. We collect it from PAS members. That, for PAS members, we ask for a mandatory contribution,” he said, adding that those outside of the party can also make a contribution if they wanted to.
“Why are they not responding to the issue of zakat distribution by DAP MPs?” he questioned.
Yusni warned the state government not to pin the blame on PAS if its zakat collection amount dwindles, saying that it only has itself to blame, as the zakat distribution by non-Muslims has supposedly eroded the confidence of Muslims to pay their tithe.
“If the zakat collection reduces for this year and the following years, don’t blame us, because it is the incorrect policy to blame.
“Don’t divert the issue. Now the MAINPP must respond to the issue as to why the zakat distribution was handed over to non-Muslim MPs,” he said, adding that the matter is one that is spiritual in nature, as it deals with a religious obligation.
Previously, photos of Pulau Tikus state assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit distributing zakat made waves on social media, after which photos of Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto carrying out the same deed in what appeared to be inside a mosque followed.
The led to criticism from the Opposition parties — Umno and PAS — with many Muslims also taking to social media to join in the criticism.
National news wire Bernama reported MAINPP president Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim urging a certain political party to stop collecting an RM7 compulsory ‘Infaq Ramadan’ from Muslims.
Abdul Malik reportedly said he had received complaints from most of the state’s ‘zakat fitrah’ amil (persons authorised to collect the Muslim tithe) about the matter.
He however did not name the political party, but Mohd Yusni informed Malay Mail that his party had already responded on the matter after Abdul Malik’s statement was reported.