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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Jakim leaves it to states to decide on zakat aid for Rohingya

It is up to the Islamic Religious Council of each state to decide whether to provide assistance to the oppressed Rohingya using zakat (or tithes), said Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha.
He said although there were views that Malaysia's poor should be given priority to receive zakat compared to the Rohingyas, it was not wrong to give the assistance on humanitarian grounds.
"We already have recipients of the monthly zakat and in the Federal Territories alone there are 27,000 monthly recipients. Maybe the remaining could be used to help the group (Rohingya refugees).
He said this to reporters after launching the “Salam Kasih Ramadan” programme, organised by the Malaysian Islamic Aid and SalamFM, in Putrajaya today.
Othman said other suitable forms of aid, like fundraising in mosques could also be channelled to the refugees.

"Malaysians are generous and like to donate. Donations collected every Friday at large mosques can reach up to RM20,000. It can also be used to help them," he said.
On Tuesday, Othman agreed with Pahang mufti Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Osman's statement that the zakat could be used to help the refugees.
Rahman said the Rohingya refugees could be categorised as among the groups eligible to receive zakat including the destitute, the poor and Muslim converts. 
(The Malaysian Insider / 05 June 2015)
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FX moves hamper Malaysia's Cagamas foreign currency sukuk issue

LONDON: Volatile currency markets could hamper Malaysian mortgage lender Cagamas Bhd's plans for its first foreign currency sukuk, the state-backed firm's chief executive said.

In November, Cagamas set up a $2.5 billion programme to issue multi-currency sukuk, or sharia-compliant bonds, in an effort to broaden its investor base and after issuing conventional bonds denominated in yuan, Hong Kong dollars and U.S. dollars in 2014.

The lender provides liquidity to primary lenders of housing loans in Malaysia to promote home ownership, by issuing bonds and sukuk to make those purchases.

"At this moment, dollar is just not attractive," said chief executive officer Chung Chee Leong in an interview on the sidelines of an investment conference in London, adding that U.S. dollar issue was still the most likely option.

"At this moment, there are not many currencies that are attractive for us to issue in. But rates move all the time, and when the time comes we will issue," Chung said, adding he hoped the issue could still come this year.

After Malaysia's government, Cagamas is the second-largest issuer of debt instruments in the country, and about 52 percent of its current portfolio is Islamic.

Asked about expansion plans, Chung said Cagamas was not working on opening subsidiaries in other countries, but would rather aim to take on loans that Malaysian lenders made outside the country through their Malaysian offices.

(The Star Online / 05 June 2015)
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