Penang’s Islamic council to sue those defaming them during Semenyih polls

Penang Islamic Religious Council president Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) today said it would sue anyone spreading lies on the relocation of 19 families from an endowment land in Butterworth during the Semenyih by-election and on social media.

MAINPP president Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said he had no choice but to do that as the council had spared no efforts to explain the situation.

“It is so frustrating to hear this. Everything good we have done for the villagers has been spun and these people are claiming we have been cruel to them.

“The villagers have moved out of their own volition,” he said at a press conference at the council’s headquarters here today.

The eviction of families from the “wakaf” (endowment) land has been used as fodder during the Semenyih by-election campaign.

Penang PPBM Youth has condemned Umno’s act of spreading lies on Facebook about the council “cruelly” removing families during its Semenyih polls campaign.

On Feb 14, the council had obtained a court order to remove 19 families staying at the Wakaf Abdul Cauder along Jalan Mengkuang in Butterworth.

The 19 were part of 50-odd families who had been staying on the land. The rest of the families had earlier vacated the place.

The council plans to build 470 units, consisting of 22-storey low-medium-cost apartment blocks, on the 1ha site.

The families vacating the land will be given a 1,000 sq ft home once the apartments are built. The remaining units will be rented out to low-income and middle-income earners.

The council has offered an allowance of RM500 to each family in lieu of monthly rental for temporary housing until the project is completed. They are also giving a one-time RM4,000 moving-out allowance and RM3,500 moving-in allowance.

Following a brief stand-off with court bailiffs on Feb 14, the 19 families agreed to move out last week after a settlement was reached. They have been given until this Sunday (Feb 24) to move out.

Tithe collection goes up

At the same press conference, MAINPP announced it had received RM114 million in zakat (tithes) last year, exceeding its initial target of RM103 million.

Malik expects the collection to increase to RM125 million this year.

He said in 2017, the total zakat received was RM101 million.

Malik also announced the new CEO for Penang Zakat, Amran Hazali, 46, who has 23 years experience in zakat management. He started serving Penang Zakat on Feb 1.

Malik said Penang Zakat had shed its past image and had undergone a massive change following a corruption scandal involving its previous CEO.

“We have addressed all weaknesses in the organisational structure and have completed a full audit, assisted by the state secretary’s office and state financial officer.

“The new CEO will steer Penang Zakat into a new era to bring the poor folks out of poverty and help them become entrepreneurs.”

Malik said MAINPP and Penang Zakat had engaged Khalaz Inspired Sdn Bhd to assist the poor to become successful entrepreneurs.