Sunday, January 20, 2019

Orang Asli rights - long overlooked but finally NEW alternative PH government doing something?

In Malaysia, the Federal government has commenced a legal suit against the Kelantan State government, etc with regard to issues of Orang Asli rights and violations, etc. Unfortunately, we have not yet have sight of the court papers - and can only rely on media reports.

For many, it was long overdue, and it was the right thing to do for too long have the Orang Asli in Semenanjung Malaysia(the 'Aborigine' or what today we say the Indigenous people) have been side-lined. These were the 'first people' of Peninsular Malaysia but somehow even the Federal Constitution failed to provide special protection to these indigenous people.
The Orang Asli are the indigenous minority peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. The name is a Malay term which transliterates as ‘original peoples’ or ‘first peoples’. It is a collective term introduced by anthropologists and administrators for the (officially) 18 ethnic subgroups generally classified for official purposes under Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malay. They numbered 178,197 in 2010 representing a mere 0.6 per cent of the national population (28 million). - COAC - Center for Orang Asli Concerns
Yes, the Federal Constitution deals with 'the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak...' providing special quotas possibly to uplift these ethnic/racial groups towards a more equitable share in terms of education, employment, business opportunities, etc...to address the imbalance perceived amongst the communities when Independence was finally obtained in 1957. See Article 153  Reservation of quotas in respect of services,  , etc., for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

Sadly, the indigenous people of the Peninsular Malaysia were left out.

Of the 869 Orang Asli communities in the peninsula, 37.2 per cent are in interior/forest areas while 61.4 per cent are in forest-fringe or rural areas. Only 1.4 per cent of the Orang Asli settlements are in, or close to, urban centers. Many of the communities living live close to, or within forested areas – including Semai, Temiar, Chewong, Jah Hut, Semelai and Semoq Beri – still engage in swiddening (hill rice cultivation) and do some hunting, fishing and gathering. These communities also trade in petai, durian, rattan and resins to earn cash incomes.
A very small number, especially among the Negrito groups (such as Jahai and Batek) are still semi-nomadic, preferring to take advantage of the seasonal bounties of the forest. A significant number of Orang Asli also have salaried jobs or are self-employed.- COAC - Center for Orang Asli Concerns


The former UMNO-BN government, despite many a time having the required two-third majority which allows for constitutional amendment, did not do anything to correct this injustice, and the Orang Asli of the Peninsular Malaysia was left out.

To further aggravate the problem, only about 12 per cent of the 869 Orang Asli villages are gazetted as Orang Asli Areas or Reserves. This means the majority of Orang Asli villages are on state land, though the Orang Asli themselves would not concede to this classification of their land. Efforts at gazetting the remaining Orang Asli lands have been sluggish, to say the least, since the 1960s and especially after the mid-1970s.
Often, Orang Asli reserves are degazetted without their knowledge while long-standing applications for gazetting have gone unheeded for as many as 40 years. In the last decade, for example, 1,062.42 hectares of Orang Asli reserves were degazetted for other purposes, while another 6,932.15 hectares of Orang Asli territories that were approved for gazetting as Orang Asli reserves were not only never gazetted at all but have in fact lost its status as Orang Asli land and reverted to the state!
This insecurity over the tenure of their lands has resulted in many Orang Asli communities losing their lands to government land schemes, private plantations, mining concessions, highway and dam projects, housing projects, recreation areas, new townships, sites for universities and various other ‘development’ projects. In cases where the Orang Asli are resettled in regroupment schemes, even here there is still no permanent security of tenure – the trend in some states being to give individual 99-year leases to the Orang Asli instead.
Land dispossession remains a persistent issue facing the Orang Asli. There are numerous instances when Orang Asli had to give up their lands, or had the lands taken from them. For example, the Semai in Kampung Sandin, Bidor had their orchards and community lands taken from them under duress only for it to be given to others as part of a group settlement scheme for other non-Orang Asli Bumiputra. The Temuans in Sepang too had to give up their well-established settlements to make way for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In Stulang Laut in Johor, the Orang Seletar were relocated to make way for a commercial and customs complex and then had their church demolished in the resettlement site because it was built on state land. And the Temuans in Bukit Unggul, Bangi first had to make way for the construction of a university (UKM) on their land, and then had to move again from their resettlement site to make way for a golf course!- COAC - Center for Orang Asli Concerns

For a long time this 'Orang Asli' were further discriminated, whereby the Ministry responsible was the Home Ministry - not even the Welfare Ministry. The orang asli communities were isolated from the mainstream - they had to go to 'special' schools, and even had 'special' hospitals...which many of time were of much lower standards compared to other public schools and healthcare facilities. Attempts were made by some quarters to make these Orang Asli Muslims - and there were allegedly 'rewards' like financial assistance and even new homes used. Similarly, other religious groups also tried to convert the Orang Asli. Sadly, respect for the orang asli beliefs and culture was ignored...

The State, in the past, may have also been guilty of trying to keep the Orang Asli as they were - hence used as tourist attractions. One example where this was happening was in the National Park in Pahang.

The orang asli in Semenanjung Malaysia comes from various different ethnic groups, each of which have their own unique language and culture. 

As it is, many Orang Asli remains poor - many not even enjoying basic amenities like piped water, electricity, proper roads, public transport, etc...

One major issue was land - the Orang Asli community found their land being encroached by development - which impacted greatly in their lifestyle, their livelihood and also income generation capacity. Many depended on the harvesting of forest resources, and so, the encroachment of the land by loggers, mining companies and plantation companies led to the victimization of these indigenous people.

Malaysia is a Federation, and so, the Constitution divided what came under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, and what came under the jurisdiction of the State governments. There is also a list of matters that come under the jurisdiction of both Federal and State governments.

The welfare of the aborigines(the Orang Asli), according to the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution is the responsibility of the Federal government...BUT land generally comes under the State List...likewise the forest.
16. Welfare of the aborigines.NINTH SCHEDULE of Federal Constitutions
Under the state lists, item 2(b) which deals with land
2. Except with respect to the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, land including-...(a) Land tenure, relation of landlord and tenant; registration of titles and deeds relating to land; colonization, land improvement and soil conservation; rent restriction; (b) Malay reservations or, in the States of Sabah and Sarawak, native reservations;...(d) Compulsory acquisition of land;
3. Except with respect to the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, agriculture and forestry, including-
(a) Agriculture and agricultural loans; and
(b) Forests.
 
Under the State List - there is talk about 'native reservations' but alas it seems only for states of Sabah and Sarawak only.

When it comes to Peninsular Malaysia States, there is only mention in the Constitution about 'Malay Reservations' and there is no specific mention about 'Orang Asli Reservations' for land...

What is interesting, is that many matters, including the preservation falls within the Concurrent List - hence the obligation falls both on the Federal government, as well as the State government...


 LIST III - CONCURRENT LIST
1. Social welfare; social services subject to Lists I and II; protection of women, children and young persons.
2. Scholarships
3. Protection of wild animals and wild birds; National Parks.
4. Animal husbandry; prevention of cruelty to animals; veterinary services; animal quarantine.
5. Town and country planning, except in the federal capital.
6. Vagrancy and itinerant hawkers.
7. Public health, sanitation (excluding sanitation in the federal capital) and the prevention of diseases.
8. Drainage and irrigation.
9. Rehabilitation of mining land and land which has suffered soil erosion.
9A. Fire safety measures and fire precautions in the construction and maintenance of buildings.
9B. Culture and sports.
9C. Housing and provisions for housing accommodation; improvement trusts.
9D. Subject to the Federal List, water supplies and services.
9E. Preservation of heritage.
Now, 'heritage' is defined as 'the history, traditions,practices, etc. of a particular country, society, or company that exist from the past and continue to be important. Surely, the preservation of orang asli land and lifestyle would fall within this definition.

A legal suit is a good start - but surely this new Pakatan Harapan government, that currently also forms the State government in most Peninsular Malaysia states save Pahang, Perlis, Kelantan and Trengganu can do more to once and for all preserve the rights of the Orang Asli wide possibly Constitutional and/or statutory amendments...

Firstly, the various orang asli villages need to be recognized and gazetted - then their rights and land need to recognized, and ....

We cannot just expect the Federal government to be taking up legal cases again States and others....

Some say that the PH government did this simply too woo Orang Asli voters in the upcoming Cameron Highland by-elections. I choose to believe that this is not so and this new alternative PH government is finally doing the right thing for Orang Asli, something that the BN failed to effectively do...

Malaysia sues Kelantan state government for infringing land rights of indigenous people
Malaysia's indigenous people have been pitted against logging and palm oil companies keen to tap the forested areas in which they live.PHOTO: ST FILEPUBLISHEDJAN 18, 2019, 8:46 PM SGT



BANGKOK (REUTERS) - The Malaysian government said on Friday (Jan 18) it would sue the local government of Kelantan state for failing to uphold the land rights of its indigenous people, a move that activists said was unprecedented and that could lead to more protection measures.


Orang Asli, meaning "original people", is the term used for Malaysia's indigenous people, who make up about 14 per cent of the population. They have been pitted against logging and palm oil companies keen to tap the forested areas in which they live.

Logging companies, which have cleared vast forest areas in Kelantan for durian and rubber plantations, had deprived the Temiar Orang Asli of their ancestral land and resources, the office of the attorney-general said in a statement on Friday.

State authorities did not consult the community before granting the licences, nor offer them compensation, it said.

"Rapid deforestation and commercial development have resulted in widespread encroachment into the native territories of the Orang Asli," Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in the statement.

"Commercial development and the pursuit of profit must not come at the expense of the Temiar Orang Asli and their inherent right, as citizens of this country, to the land and resources which they have traditionally owned and used," he said.

The suit, filed in the high court of Kelantan's state capital Kota Bharu, seeks the legal recognition of the Temiar Orang Asli's land rights, and injunctions to restrain private firms from encroaching on and destroying their land.

The suit names the state government of Kelantan - which lies in the north-east of mainland Malaysia - as well as the state director of land, the forestry department and five private entities as defendants.

Malaysia has adopted the United Nations' declaration on the rights of indigenous people, which advocates free, prior and informed consent of communities that might be affected by commercial projects.

Yet that is rarely done, activists have said.

Dozens of disputes that pitted indigenous communities against logging and palm oil companies have ended up in court, and several campaigners have been killed in recent years, according to rights groups.

Malaysia's government, which came to power in May after ousting a corruption-mired coalition, offered some hope, said human rights lawyer Charles Hector.

"Land is a state subject, so it is very significant that the federal government is taking this unprecedented step of suing a state government over the land rights of the Orang Asli," he said.

"In representing the Orang Asli against the state, the federal government is signalling a different direction for indigenous rights," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Around the world, indigenous and local communities own more than half of the land under customary rights, yet have secure legal rights to just 10 per cent, according to advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative. - Straits Times, 18/1/2018


In a first, Malaysia sues state government for infringing land rights of indigenous people

Rina Chandran

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Malaysian government said on Friday it would sue the local government of Kelantan state for failing to uphold the land rights of its indigenous people, a move that activists said was unprecedented and that could lead to more protection measures.

Orang Asli, meaning “original people”, is the term used for Malaysia’s indigenous people, who make up about 14 percent of the population. They have been pitted against logging and palm oil companies keen to tap the forested areas in which they live.

Logging companies, which have cleared vast forest areas in Kelantan for durian and rubber plantations, had deprived the Temiar Orang Asli of their ancestral land and resources, the office of the attorney general said in a statement on Friday.

State authorities did not consult the community before granting the licenses, nor offer them compensation, it said.

“Rapid deforestation and commercial development have resulted in widespread encroachment into the native territories of the Orang Asli,” Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in the statement.

“Commercial development and the pursuit of profit must not come at the expense of the Temiar Orang Asli and their inherent right, as citizens of this country, to the land and resources which they have traditionally owned and used,” he said.

The suit, filed in the high court of Kelantan’s state capital Kota Bharu, seeks the legal recognition of the Temiar Orang Asli’s land rights, and injunctions to restrain private firms from encroaching on and destroying their land.

The suit names the state government of Kelantan - which lies in the north-east of mainland Malaysia - as well as the state director of land, the forestry department and five private entities as defendants.

Malaysia has adopted the United Nations’ declaration on the rights of indigenous people, which advocates free, prior and informed consent of communities that might be affected by commercial projects.

Yet that is rarely done, activists have said.

Dozens of disputes that pitted indigenous communities against logging and palm oil companies have ended up in court, and several campaigners have been killed in recent years, according to rights groups.

Malaysia’s government, which came to power in May after ousting a corruption-mired coalition, offered some hope, said human rights lawyer Charles Hector.

“Land is a state subject, so it is very significant that the federal government is taking this unprecedented step of suing a state government over the land rights of the Orang Asli,” he said.

“In representing the Orang Asli against the state, the federal government is signaling a different direction for indigenous rights,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Around the world, indigenous and local communities own more than half of the land under customary rights, yet have secure legal rights to just 10 percent, according to advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative. Reuters, 18/1/2018


In lauding the government’s move, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) pointed out that repeated concerns have been raised over the “state-sanctioned” encroachment of Orang Asli land.
"Despite the fact that land may be a state matter, the federal government has a duty to uphold the rights of Orang Asli who are citizens of Malaysia,” said Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail.
Describing the legal action as being long overdue, Razali also said the comission will be holding a watching brief over proceedings of the case. - Malaysiakini, 19/1/2018

Friday, January 18, 2019

PTPTN Scandals Need To Be Investigated? zakat payments, relief for flood victims,...?

PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan handed RM1 million in alms to the Kedah Zakat Board...
SCANDAL? Abuse of powers? - but still not much questioning, discussions, answers...maybe because it is about 'Zakat' - about an 'islamic issue'...The only respose, I seem to have noticed was merely a PTPTN response - not even the relevant Minister or the government? Have you...

What is PTPTN doing handing out donations for flood victims in Perlis? Setting up education funds for deceased fireman? 

This handing out of assistance is for the government to do...through the relevant Ministries possibly like the Welfare Ministry - not for PTPTN to be doing...Is PTPTN(or its Chairman or Board) abusing their powers? It is not the role or function of all government bodies/agencies/...to use 'our money' to do other things beyond their specified roles/functions

Newly appointed PTPTN chairman is a losing PH candidate for the Pendang Parliamentary seat in Kedah - so, was this pay-out a means of building political support for future elections? 

PTPTN is an 'indebted' government institution, who is primarily  in the business of giving out student loans and collecting back loan-payments, who now have dishonourable Malaysian students owing it about RM40 billion when they failed to repay their loans..., a bad situation which means that we have to pump in more money to enable future students get loans they need to further their studies...

ZAKAT payment by a government institution/agency? PTPTN paid RM1 million to Kedah...Is it right? 

Was it even a PH government decision? Was it even a decision of the relevant Minister? Was it simply a decision of PTPTN?

We are talking about our money - government money - and it is not open to all government agencies/bodies/departments...even Ministries to spend monies as they want to...That is the role of the government - the Federal Government...and State Government...and Local Governments? ...

True, Muslims have an obligation to pay 'zakat'(tithes), a kind of religious tax, money of which are to be used to help a specified group - generally Muslims..the poor...including also the officers who administer the zakat fund.(see below for categories of recipients of zakat)

Muslims pay Zakat - normally from income/profits made....so why was this government agency, the PTPTN, paying Zakat.

PTPTN gets its money from the government - hands out study loans to deserving Malaysians, but today too many borrowers have failed to repay their debt...in the billions of ringgit. PTPTN certainly did not make profits...hence, should it even be paying any taxes - be it to the Income Tax Departments, let alone zakat..

To date, 1.4 million borrowers have not made repayments, and the fund's outstanding student loans have ballooned over the years..."PTPTN's RM40.5 billion (student) debt was second only to 1MDB," PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan told The Straits Times, referring to the scandal-tainted state development fund that at one point had debts of RM42 billion..."After Pakatan took (over) government, that debt had reduced to RM37.6 billion as of Oct 31," he said....One reason for the huge backlog is that though many borrowers had graduated and found jobs, they have been slow in paying up.Its low interest rate and lack of punitive punishment by the government led to borrowers putting repayment on the backburner - choosing instead to spend their money elsewhere.That is putting a strain on PTPTN channelling funds to current students. In its 2016 annual report, the fund stated that an estimated RM3 billion is needed for yearly disbursements. But its annual spending has consistently been higher than repayments. Short of the government stepping in to inject money for next year, The Straits Times understands that PTPTN has managed to raise only half the amount needed for next year. - The Straits Times, 22/12/2018

After this issue came to light - there was little follow up news...but there was some articles by groups and individuals, that deserve our reading and consideration - see below.

Now, zakat money only helps a particular class of Malaysians - not for all Malaysans, so when Malaysians are deprived of this money - Malaysians suffer. 

The effective dissemination of aid and financial assistance for the poor and the deserving should be coordinated and effective...and this should be the responsibility of the government. 

So, if zakat is used to help a Muslim poor...does that mean that government assistance through the Welfare Department will not flow to this Muslim person...or will the same poor Man end up getting 'double' assistance from both the government and also the Zakat Board. Is this not duplication? For there are so many poor and needy in the country that needs assistance - and there must be coordination...best, if the aid/assistance flows from one source...

Same problem with monies allocated to Members of Parliament - MP using money to get wheel chairs for the poor...should this not be the responsibility of the Welfare Ministry...or maybe the Health Ministry? So, who is responsible to provide assistance of this sort?

Repairing roads and homes of the poor - do we go to the MP or do we go to a relevant government department/Ministry? This needs to be clear...for responsibilities of aid/welfare need to be EFFICIENT.

ZAKAT money is used to repair mosques/suraus - so, does this mean the government should not allocate any money to repair mosques/suraus - but only use the government monies to repair/maintain places of worship and burial sites of people of other faiths?

Most other charities complement - they help those the government failed to help sufficiently or failed to help. 

When it comes to Zakat - It is also a tax REBATE...not a tax RELIEF.

In Malaysia, today Zakat is a tax rebate...so Muslims who have paid zakat will have to pay less income tax. Christians too have similar obligations about payment of tithe ...and likewise, followers of other religions may also have similar obligations..but sadly there is no similar tax rebate, is there?

Zakat comes with one special perk, and that is the tax rebate. Zakat payment will help reduce the income tax tremendously as it falls under the tax rebate category, and in some cases, this rebate is sometimes enough to reduce the income tax to RM0.
For clueless payers out there, a tax rebate is a reduction in your tax expense after you have calculated your tax for the year, and it differs from tax relief which reduces your chargeable income (donations and charity work falls under the tax relief category). So, for example:
Roslynas income tax in 2016 : RM650
Roslynas Zakat in 2016 : RM350
Because zakat is a Tax Rebate, Roslynas income tax in 2013 is RM650 RM350 = RM300. [see - https://ringgitplus.com/en/blog/Banking/Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Zakat-in-Malaysia.html

The new Pakatan Harapan government need to look at this? Should there be tax rebate for all Malaysians if they pay tithes or other payment to help in the building/maintenance of their places of worship/burial facilities, projects of their religious institutions including for the purpose of charity, etc..? Should zakat remain a TAX REBATE ...OR should it just be a TAX RELIEF?

Who looks after the building and maintenance of religious places of worship and burial cites(crematoriums, burial grounds)? This really should be the obligation of the government - Federal, State and Local governments. 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE TO AID THE POOR, AND ENSURE THE WELL BEING OF MALAYSIANS? It should be the Federal Government - and maybe also STATE government - possibly also should be the obligation of the Local Government. Zakat funds are used to help primarily Muslim poor...likewise, many other religious and charitable institutions also help the poor and needy...

Should KWSP and Lembaga Urusan Tabung Haji and ASN pay Zakat? Or should it just be the account holders/pencarum? Should banks?

KWSP - Well, let us look at who pays Zakat. KWSP also invest the monies and makes profits, and this money flows back to the workers/owners of the monies - The obligation to pay zakat is on these worker/beneficiaries/EPF account holders when they take out their money...Caruman KWSP diwajibkan zakat apabila dikeluarkan daripada simpanan tersebut. -http://www.zakat.com.my/info-zakat/jenis-jenis-zakat/zakat-kwsp/

Hence, government bodies/agencies should really not be paying Zakat - likewise also maybe companies. 

Yes - income/profits of companies also flow to the owners(the shareholders) - and to require both the individual shareholder and the company to pay zakat may be a case of 'double taxation'. For income tax, companies have to pay and this means this cuts into the profits of the shareholder, and he/she receives less profits/income, for which he must again pay income tax. Should it be the same for Zakat? This is something the government need study and decide...

Should there be an investigation conducted by the MACC/Police or relevant department on the recent actions of PTPTN, under new head Wan Saiful. Is PTPTN free to donate as it pleases to flood victims, etc...or make payment to Zakat bodies States? Simply following what the previous BN government did is wrong - PH need to make new decisions to avoid corruption, abuse of power...and 'leaks' of people's money?

Income Tax - money should flow to the government for it to use for the good and well-being of all Malaysians...especially the poor and needy. Zakat can be used to reduce income earned directly by the government, and could result money flowing elsewhere including to States and State Agencies/Bodies not under the control of the government - LESS MONEY for the government to use for the benefit of all Malaysians, to end poverty, assist the needy...

INVESTIGATIONS and even policy reviews urgently needed now by this new PH government - simply following old BN policies and ways of doing things is just no longer an option. PTPTN excuse was that this was permissible since 2016(but that was under Najib's BN)? So, it is not even a new practice but simply something that started under Najib's rule ...after problems with 1MDB?
PTPTN said it had started the practice of issuing zakat payments to all states in Malaysia since the year ending 2016, and had continued to do so for the year ending 2017.
Mahathir and the Cabinet need to act -  it may be about Zakat and a Pakatan Harapan government political appointee...but not addressing this 'scandal' is simply not the way? 

* Do these Zakat collection and disbursing bodies provide accounts on how they spend their monies? Have they been helping all poor Muslims, mosques fairly - does being a member or friend to a political party have any 'discrimination'...The fact that I supported(or was a member) of an Opposition party affected the chances of getting zakat assistance in the past? Does the Auditor General audit their accounts?

* PTPTN - Its role and duties are clearly defined by Parliament/Government? Is it also not wrong for them to doing 'charity' which is beyond their specified duties/roles? The more PTPTN has, the more students it can assist....RM1 million would have been used for student loans for how many deserving Malaysian children...now, the money is gone....

PTPTN: Our zakat giving won't affect study loans





File picture shows an employee serving a customer at the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) in Kuala Lumpur July 16, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
File picture shows an employee serving a customer at the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) in Kuala Lumpur July 16, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 ― The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) has said its giving out of zakat or obligatory alms in Islam is the fulfilling of its religious obligations, with the fund assuring that it would not affect the giving out of loans to university students.


PTPTN said the fund gives out zakat based on its profits, clarifying that it will not dip into funds for study loans to give out the alms.

“This payment of zakat actually does not affect the loans that will be given to students, as the payment of zakat is based on the net revenue of investments especially SSPN deposits and not from the fund for the giving out of loans.

“PTPTN calls for the payment of zakat that is obligatory on PTPTN to not become an issue or be a polemic as it is a religious obligation,” the fund said in a statement late last night.

“PTPTN will continue to be committed in ensuring there are enough funds to provide loans for the generations to come and at the same time PTPTN's funds are blessed in line with religious obligations,” it added.

In the two-page statement, PTPTN said it had started the practice of issuing zakat payments to all states in Malaysia since the year ending 2016, and had continued to do so for the year ending 2017.

PTPTN said ceremonies for the handing over of the zakat payments were held in Melaka, Penang, Johor, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Sarawak and Kedah, adding that similar ceremonies will be held in other states that receive zakat payments if held by the respective states' Islamic religious authorities.

“The zakat payment made by PTPTN is obligatory for PTPTN's investment proceeds and these zakat payments are done so that the income received would be cleansed and blessed by Allah SWT. PTPTN also hopes that this payment of zakat which is a religious obligation will not be a polemic,” it added.

in the statement, PTPTN explained that business zakat is a responsibility that businesses that deal either in goods or services had to fulfill, if the business fulfills the requirements.

“Therefore, PTPTN is obliged to issue business zakat on the proceeds of investment that are made for all investments including for deposits received through the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) with full responsibility,” it said, noting that the SSPN is a Shariah-compliant savings scheme where savings from depositors are used for investments.

“The basis used by PTPTN is that PTPTN fulfills all conditions set which obliges PTPTN to issue zakat as outlined by the zakat centre. As has been stipulated, PTPTN's zakat payment is 2.5 per cent of the annual net investment profits.

“The investment revenue obtained is additional income and the percentage of obligatory zakat is minimum, that is 2.5 per cent from the net investment profits,” it said.

The statement came a day after PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan handed RM1 million in alms to the Kedah Zakat Board to help in development efforts for the destitute and reduce poverty in the state. - Malay Mail, 29/12/2018



Contributing PTPTN money to Lembaga Zakat Kedah raises serious suspicion due to conflict of interest
By Aliran admin
-28 Dec 2018


C4 Center is surprised over National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan contributing PTPTN money to Lembaga Zakat Negeri Kedah yesterday.

Just not long ago, PTPTN policy and operations deputy chief executive Mastura Mohd Khalid told the media that PTPTN had borrowed money from the bank to fund 2.9 million students and the total bank loan amounted to RM51.2bn, with a very long repayment period. This is the amount that PTPTN used as capital to continuously provide loans to students. And it was also reported that the funds are currently short of RM39bn.

We are also concerned about the management of Lembaga Zakat: according to a study done by Norma Saad, professor, Department of Economics, Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, and Naziruddin Abdullah, professor, UniKL Business School, “Is Zakat Capable of Alleviating Poverty? An Analysis on the Distribution of Zakat Fund in Malaysia”, the biggest amount of expenditure goes to operations and management costs as opposed to the poor.

This move begs the questions: Why Kedah in particular? Is Lembaga Zakat Negeri Kedah running short of funds compared to other states? Is this related to the Bersatu annual general meeting that is happening tomorrow?

PTPTN funds are meant to help students pursue their higher education.

This is clearly a case of conflict of interest and abuse of power arising from political appointments tasked with dealing with government-linked funds.

In September this year, Wan Saiful made a RM100,000 contribution to Perlis flood victims under the PTPTN corporate social responsibility umbrella. Wan Saiful has also been recently appointed as Perlis Bersatu secretary. In light of the foregoing, what is the justification for this move, which clearly raises the issue of conflict of interest?

There has been a systematic conflict of interest perpetuated by the former BN government through political appointments in government agencies and government-linked companies. We note with concern the practice has continued to flourish under the current Pakatan Harapan government as seen in this PTPTN and other issues.

The PH government must address this issue immediately in moving towards a new Malaysia and in implementing its institutional reform agenda. It is important to note that the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto makes several references to appointments to key positions that should be based on merit instead of political links.

C4 Center demands that the Pakatan Harapan government:
immediately stop political appointments which will cause conflict of interest and abuse of power
put in place a clear policy or law to prevent conflict of interest and abuse of power

Cynthia Gabriel is executive director of C4 Center. - ALIRAN, 28/12/2018


Social activist Chandra Muzaffar, however, said it was not right for PTPTN to have made the contribution.

He said it raised questions over PTPTN’s financial management and that of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“The PH government has made proper financial management one of the major planks in its platform, so when it is reported that PTPTN, which is in debt, is contributing to the Kedah Zakat Board, it raises questions,” he told FMT.

He urged the government to take a serious view of the issue, saying the contribution, although well-intended, did not make sense.

PTPTN is a body that was established to help students pursue a tertiary education. It involves the well-being of hundreds of thousands of students.

“Proper financial management is a prerequisite for public confidence in PTPTN,” he said, calling on PTPTN to explain the contribution given its mandate as well as the rules guiding its administration.

He also voiced regret that both PTPTN and Tabung Haji, which were mooted by prominent economist and Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, were in the spotlight for “doing things” outside their mandate.

Anti-graft group Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism previously questioned the contribution as well, saying it raised “serious suspicion”. - FMT News, 2/1/2019 Concern over conflict of interest in PTPTN zakat contribution

Who are the eligible beneficiaries for Zakat?
Zakat, people eligible for zakat, asnaf categories

Source:-https://www.comparehero.my/blog/what-is-zakat



Wajibkah PTPTN bayar zakat?


PERBADANAN Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) telah ditubuhkan di bawah Akta Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional 1997 (Akta 566) yang mula berkuatkuasa pada 1 Julai 1997. PTPTN mula beroperasi pada 1 November 1997.
Ringkasnya, seksyen 3(1) Akta 566 menubuhkan suatu kumpulan wang yang dekenali sebagai Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional. Seksyen 3(2) menyatakan kumpulan wang itu adalah terdiri daripada “apa-apa jumlah wang yang diperuntukkan dari semasa ke semasa oleh Kerajaan” kepadanya dan lain-lain.
Seksyen 4 menyatakan untuk tujuan apa Kumpulan Wang itu boleh dibelanjakan. Tujuan utamanya adalah untuk memberi pinjaman pendidikan kepada pelajar institusi pengajian tinggi dan memberi bantuan kewangan kepada mereka selain dalam bentuk pinjaman pendidikan.
Seksyen 5(1) menubuhkan PTPTN dan mempertanggungjawabkannya bagi pengurusan Kumpulan Wang itu. Seksyen 5(2) memberi kuasa kepadanya untuk membawa guaman dan dibawa guaman atas namanya. Seksyen 5(3) memberi kuasa kepadanya untuk membuat kontrak, memilik dan mengurus harta alih (wang) dan harta tak alih (tanah) kepunyaannya.
Baru-baru ini PTPTN telah membayar zakat kepada Majlis Agama Islam Kedah sebanyak RM1 juta. Rencana ini mempersoalkan sama ada PTPTN wajib membanyar zakat.
PTPTN diperbadankan (ditubuhkan) oleh Parlimen untuk tujuan tertentu dan diberikan kuasa tertentu oleh Parlimen. Sebagai perbandingan, Tabung Haji juga diperbadankan oleh Parlimen. Tetapi, terdapat sedikit perbezaan antara Tabung Haji dengan PTPTN. Tabung Haji mempunyai pencarum (pemegang saham) yang beragama Islam, tetapi PTPTN tidak. Maka, apabila Tabung Haji membayar zakat, ia dikatakan membayar zakat bagi pihak pencarumnya, manusia yang beragama Islam. Hujah itu jelas tidak boleh digunakan bagi PTPTN yang tidak mempunyai pencarum.
Maka, apabila PTPTN membayar zakat, semestinyalah zakat itu adalah zakat dirinya, yang wajib baginya menunaikan sama seperti seorang Islam (orang yang beriman). Maka, soalnya, adakan PTPTN “seorang Islam” atau “orang yang berimam”?
Memanglah seorang manusia yang beriman (Islam) yang merdeka, dewasa, cukup akal wajib membayar zakat jika syarat-syaratnya dipenuhi. Kewajipan itu, seperti lain-lain ibadat, bukanlah bertujuan untuk dilanjutkan kepada bukan-manusia sama ada binatang, pokok, robot atau entiti undang-undang yang diwujudkan oleh undang-undang (mula-mula oleh cpmmom law, kemudian prinsipnya diterima pakai dan diperundangkan oleh Parlimen) untuk tujuan tertentu.
Saya tidak fikir terdapat apa-apa pertikaian bahawa Allah ﷻ telah mengutus Nabi-Nabi kepada manusia dan bahawa agama adalah untuk manusia kerana manusia boleh percaya atau tidak percaya, menerima atau menolak iman. Nabi Muhammad ﷺ  juga tidak berdakwah kepada selain daripada manusia. Al-Quran juga ditujukan kepada manusia. Sebab itulah terdapat banyak ayat-ayat yang bermula dengan “Wahai manusia ….” dan banyak pula ayat-ayat yang bermula dengan “Wahai orang-orang yang beriman …..“.
Apabila manusia menerima Islam sebagai agama mereka, beberapa perkara menjadi kewajipan mereka, misalan yang paling mudah ialah apa yang dipanggil “Rukun Islam” yang terdiri daripada syahadah, solat, puasa, zakat, dan haji.
Mengenai puasa, misalnya, Al-Quran mengatakan:
Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Kamu diwajibkan berpuasa sebagaimana diwajibkan ke atas orang-orang yang terdahulu daripada kamu, supaya kamu bertaqwa.” – Al-Baqarah 183.
Mengenai zakat, ayat berikut telah dijadikan sandaran oleh Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Kebangsaan dan Jawatankuasa Fatwa Negeri Selangor bagi mengeluarkan pendapat/fatwa bahawa syarikat (berhad) wajib membayar zakat:
Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Belanjakanlah (pada jalan Allah) sebahagian dari hasil usaha kamu yang baik-baik, dan sebahagian dari apa yang Kami keluarkan dari bumi untuk kamu.” – Al-Baqarah 267.
Perhatikan bahawa kedua-duanya ditujukan kepada “Orang-orang yang beriman”.
Semestinya kata-kata itu bererti manusia yang boleh beriman.
Satu ayat lagi menyimpulkannya:
Sesungguhnya orang-orang yang beriman dan beramal soleh, dan mengerjakan sembahyang serta memberikan zakat, mereka beroleh pahala di sisi Tuhan mereka, dan tidak ada kebimbangan (dari berlakunya sesuatu yang tidak baik) terhadap mereka, dan mereka pula tidak akan berdukacita“. – Al-Baqarah 277.
Ini adalah antara kewajipan ke atas orang Islam atau orang yang beriman. Tetapi, sebelum kewajipan itu terkena kepada manusia, dia mestilah beriman terlebih dahulu. Manusia boleh beriman dengan mempercayai Rukun-Rukun Iman. Bagaimana suatu perbadanan seperti PPTPN hendak percaya kepada Allah, Malaikat, Rasul, Kitab-Kitab yang diwahyukan Allah, Hari Kiamat dan Qada’ dan Qadar? Jika suatu perbadanan tidak boleh beriman, maka ia bukanlah “orang yang beriman” atau “seorang Islam”. Ia juga bukan kafir sebab ia juga tidak boleh menolak keimanan.
Ia ibarat sebatang pokok. Tidak ada pokok Islam dan pokok kafir. Bezanya PTPTN dengan sebatang pokok ialah walaupun PTPTN tidak boleh dilihat seperti sebatang pokok, ia diiktirafkan oleh undang-undang sebagai suatu entiti undang-undang yang boleh berkontrak, memiliki harta atas namanya dan lain-lain. Kuasa dan kewajipannya hanya setakat yang diberi dan ditetapkan oleh Parlimen.
Parlimen tidak melahirkan seorang manusia yang boleh beriman atau kufur. Parlimen tidak ada kuasa berbuat demikian. Hanya Allah ﷻ yang berkuasa melakukannya. Maka, kewajipan agama (ibadat) yang dikenakan oleh Allah ﷻ ke atas manusia ciptaannya yang boleh menerima atau menolak iman, tetapi telah memilih menerimanya, tidaklah boleh dikenakan ke atas suatu perbadanan seperti PTPTN.
Dalam rencana ringkas ini, saya tidak akan membincangkan keputusan-keputusan Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Kebangsaan dan keputusan Majlis Fatwa Selangor kerana perbincangan jawatankuasa-jawatankuasa itu adalah berkenaan syarikat-syarikat berhad yang mempunyai pemegang saham yang terdiri daripada manusia Islam dan bukan Islam.
Seperti yang disebut di awal tadi, PTPTN tidak mempunyai pemegang saham. Maka, keputusan jawatankuasa-jawatankuasa itu mengenainya tidaklah berkenaan dengan PTPTN.
Jika suatu perbadanan wajib membayar zakat, maka Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri dan Majlis Agama Islam, memberi hanya dua misalan, juga wajib membayar zakat. Adakah Majlis Agama Islam membayar zakatnya?
Isu PTPTN adalah ibarat hujung gunung ais (tip of the iceberg). Semuanya bermula dengan kesilapan mengaplikasi ayat Al-Quran tanpa analisis yang mendalam dan kegagalan membezakan antara entiti undang-undang bukan manusia (perbadanan) yang dicipta oleh Parlimen dengan manusia yang dicipta oleh Allah ﷻ sendiri, yang boleh beriman atau tidak beriman. Sudah tentu, Allah ﷻ. tahu bahawa hukum-Nya adalah untuk ciptaan-Nya.
Sebagai kesimpulan, pada pendapat saya, PTPTN tidak wajib membayar zakat. Sekiranya ia tidak wajib membayar zakat, maka bayaran RM1 juta yang dikatakan sebagai zakat PTPTN itu adalah penyalahgunaan dana PTPTN. Ia harus diganti. Atau, Majlis Agama Islam Kedah yang menerimanya sebagai “zakat wajib PTPTN” hendaklah mengembalikannya kepada PTPTN, kerana ia adalah pembayaran yang salah.
Sesiapa yang ingin mendalami isu ini bolehlah membaca rencana-rencana dan ucapan saya mengenainya yang boleh didapati dalam laman-laman web saya: Obligation of Companies to Pay Zakat: Issues Arising From Effects of Separate Legal Entity (18 07 2012); Obligation of Companies to Pay Zakat: Summary of My Findings and My Views (18 07 2012); Obligation of Companies to Pay Pakat: Issues Arising from Effects of Separate Legal Entity (2012 LR 481); Obligation of Companies to Pay Zakat: Issues Arising From Effects of Separate Legal Entity (MLCC 03 07 2013); Critical Appraisal of the Companies’ Obligations to Pay Zakat in the Malaysian Context (International Company and Commercial Law Review, 2013 ICCLR 375) (19 10 2013); Kewajipan Syarikat Membayar Zakat: Isu-isu Yang Berbangkit Daripada Prinsip Entity Berasingan di Sisi Undang-undang (10 03 2016).
Ini hanyalah pendapat saya, berdasarkan hujah-hujah yang saya kemukakan. Hujah-hujah sebaliknya dialu-alukan, terutama sekali jika ditulis dalam bentuk artikel. Walau bagaimanapun, perlu diambil perhatian bahawa ini adalah perbincangan akademik berdasarkan syariah dan undang-undang. Apa-apa pendapat atau hujah yang dikemukakan diharapkan tidak didorong oleh atau berdasarkan pertimbangan untung dan rugi kepada Perbendaharaan Persekutuan atau Majlis Agama Islam Negeri.

Wallahu a’lam.
Penafian: Artikel ini adalah pandangan peribadi penulis dan tidak mewakili pendirian rasmi Media Isma Sdn Bhd atau Portal Islam dan Melayu Ismaweb.net.


* Remember that all my post are mere opinions, and you are free to agree and disagree...better still make some comments