Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tithe Abuse

Another scandal is brewing and despite denials by the persons named, it will not go away that easily! Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Jamil Khir Baharom (above photo), along with the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) director Che Mat Che Ali and chief prosecutor Shamsudin Hussain were alleged to have abused zakat funds, i.e. the trio had used RM63,650 in alms money to settle their legal costs incurred when Anwar Ibrahim named them as respondents in his 2010 qazaf application in the Syariah Court.

MAIWP received a government grant of RM700,000 in June 22 that year, and only in December 2010 did the council use money from this grant to repay the RM63,650 it had withdrawn from the zakat funds. .

It is obviously a case of misappropriation of funds. In fact, this matter was initially highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report. Not only that but it is also a case of double standard.

This was evident when Johor police pursued a tithe collector Reduan Mohd Said for misappropriating RM19,510 in zakat money – and he was subsequently sentenced to be jailed four years and whipped thrice. But for Jamil Khir and the others, they have not been summoned to account for this wrongdoing.

And yesterday, PKR communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad furnished proof of the said payments made, i.e. the first amounting to RM31,500, through voucher No. 2010B01304 and approved on February 09, 2010 and the second payment voucher was for RM32,150 dated April 29, 2010.

All along, I thought the guys entrusted with the zakat monies are clean and suci. I guess nothing is really safe anymore from the clutches of duplicitous politicians and their minions.

On Wednesday afternoon, I went to KPMG Tower in Bandar Utama for the KPMG KL Toastmasters meeting. This lunch-time meeting attracted a good nineteen people and I took up two roles, i.e. as General Evaluator and as Evaluator for Steven Koh who delivered his tenth CC speech titled "The Ultimate Art of Bending".

I enjoyed the speeches and evaluations and indeed, I was pleasantly surprised by their quality! I particularly relished the Table Topics speeches, especially from Amanda Wong and Aaron Lee. The three project speakers merited praise too and all of them (i.e. Toh Joo Lee, Steven Koh and Aaron) showed good promise, but they do need guidance. Anyway, I offered my help to these young Toastmasters. It is the least I can do because all this while, Grace Loh (Immediate Past President) has been carrying this burden alone. Besides, if I can be of assistance, why not?

On that same day too, I went to 1 Sentral in KL’s Jalan Travers to attend the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Toastmasters meeting. I was invited by Ong Sze Yein to be the Evaluator for an Advanced speech (from the Humorously Speaking manual) that was delivered by PwC intern, Yeap Zheng Lik who is a member of the Sydney FX North Ryde Toastmasters Club in Australia. In fact, both of us won the evening's awards for Best Speaker and Best Evaluator. The meeting also didn't start on time but that wasn't the only issue. Time-keeping wasn't managed well at all because it stretched and stretched until it finished one hour beyond the scheduled time. Club member, Jack Lim who was the General Evaluator must shoulder the responsibility for taking close to 30 minutes to present his very thorough report – when according to the meeting agenda, only five minutes was allotted to him. He may have meant well but to surpass the time as he did was not prudent at all.

The other thing I found very distracting was their staff members habitually walking in and out of the meeting – this occurred when the meeting had already been formally convened. When the meeting began, for example, there were 24 of us but at one stage, the numbers rose to 37 attendees, and by the time, we brought down the curtains, there were just 29 people. Next time, we should strap the culprits to their chairs!

Anyway, two contrasting meetings for these two aforesaid clubs even if they belong to the same financial services sector.


HitoMi Ng said...

It was our pleasure to have you yesterday afternoon. I bet your lectures would always be full now as you are a very interesting character yourself too!

Btw, I do blog too :) Mainly about food and travel. Looking forward to step up and boost my confidence through TM.

Glam said...

Thanks for reading my blog and posting your comments. I trust you will continue to do so. I hope the next time I am there at KPMG, you will give me the honor of listening to you speak! And oh yes, I would like to visit your blog too