FT Islamic authorities: Shopee not zakat collector, merely a platform to make payments easier

File picture shows a man paying his zakat fee to the Amil or the zakat collector at Masjid Jamek Seberang Jaya, April 30, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
File picture shows a man paying his zakat fee to the Amil or the zakat collector at Masjid Jamek Seberang Jaya, April 30, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — The Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council Zakat Collection Centre (PPZ-MAIWP) said today that e-commerce website Shopee is merely an instrument to help ease the payment process of zakat or alms, amid backlash from some Muslim groups.

Its chief Datuk Seri Syed Ali Syed Abbas Al Habshee said in Islamic terms, Shopee is a “wasilah” that can assist Muslims and not a collector or “amil” as the management of the collection is still fully under each state’s zakat collection centre.

“The allegation that Shopee has been appointed as ‘amil’ is not true at all, even the management of zakat collection and distribution remains under the responsibility and supervision of PPZ-MAIWP.

“Therefore, there is no dispute about the appointment,” he said in a statement.

Syed Ali compared this to the payments of ‘zakat’ on crops and livestock which are already no longer made physically, instead paid with the value of money transferred to PPZ through online bank transactions, as decided by the authorities.

“Please be informed, before Shopee can be appointed as a zakat payment agent, PPZ has of course obtained views and cooperation from religious experts and related people,” he said.

Syed Ali added that Federal Territories tax payers in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan also found that Shopee is among the preferred online alternatives.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Sunni Organisation (Aswaja) was reported questioning the inclusion of e-commerce website Shopee as a platform for Muslims to pay their zakat, even questioning the religious background of the management behind Shopee.

Despite its questions, Shopee’s role has already been defined as a payment gateway, similar to other e-wallet providers, MyEG, and bank portals such as Maybank2U and CIMB Clicks.

Perak and Pahang religious authorities have also already addressed the issue.

Last Wednesday, Shopee was appointed as a platform for Muslims to pay zakat among others in the Federal Territories, Selangor and Perak.

The company insisted that all zakat transactions are valid and in accordance with Islamic law, with plans to expand zakat collection in other states.

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