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Encouraging more member organizations to work towards greater financial self-reliance, including the development of the institutions of zakat-collection and disbursement and the development of waqf.
This theme involves:
- Zakat-collection becomes increasingly viable whenever there is a growing number of middle-class Muslim population in a country. There is increasing realization among Muslim organization leaders in RISEAP Muslim-minority countries that they have to become self-reliant and less dependent on other countries to address their own economic and social issues. In October 2011, the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) has launched its Baitul Maal for the collection and disbursement of zakat. In December 2015, the Chinese Muslim Association (CMA) of Taiwan announced its intention to launch Baitul Maal Taiwan for zakat-collection and disbursement. In February 2016, the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong launched Baitul Maal Hong Kong. Notwithstanding this positive development, it is understood that in several other RISEAP countries, such as in the Paciﬁc islands of Tonga and Vanuatu, it is difficult to envisage the development of their own indigenous Baitul Maal. It is more realistic to expect the “bigger brothers” in the neighbouring countries of Fiji, Australia and New Zealand to continue to assist their “newer brothers” in such countries for the foreseeable future.
- Improving standards in zakat-collection, accountability and corporate governance, and distribution. The Baitul Maal Sarawak as well as the Muslim Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) have played a pivotal role in offering training programs to RISEAP member organizations to upgrade their skills in zakat-collection, corporate governance and zakat distribution. Baitul Maal Sarawak has sent specialists to Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong to train Muslims on the collection and disbursement of zakatul maal.
- Extending Baitul Maal functions to include the management and re-development of waqf properties. MUIS has an annual program in which RISEAP member organizations are invited to Singapore to observe MUIS’s program in the management of re-development of waqf properties.