Minggu, 05 Desember 2010

he Advancement of e-Zakat for Delivering Better Quality Service and Enhancing Governance Sphere of Zakat Institution in Malaysia


The Advancement of e-Zakat for Delivering Better Quality Service and Enhancing
Governance Sphere of Zakat Institution in Malaysia

Shawal Kaslam[1]

Abstract[2]
This paper describes the advancement of e-Zakat as a new mode for delivering better quality services and enhancing governance sphere of zakat organizations in Malaysia. This paper elaborates how the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially the e-Zakat is altering the way of managing zakat, thereby driving economic and social changes. First, this paper seeks to explore how zakat institution and the management practices in Malaysia. Second, this paper elaborates how Internet application has emerged as a mean of the government agencies to innovate in response to such changes. Finally, this paper analyses how the application of e-zakat has increased the convenience and accessibility of government services, and information dissemination becomes more efficient, effective and enhances the government accountability to citizens. The major issue that is the concern of this paper is e-Zakat has emerged as one of the government initiative in integrating internet application to construct a modern competitive zakat institution. e-Zakat is an online media used to supports the ways zakat organization delivers services, especially on collection and distribution of zakat fund to zakat recipients. This new mode of zakat operation has improved the performance, transparency and accountability of zakat organization.

Key words: Zakat, e-Zakat, Governance.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM),  Institut Kajian Zakat Malaysia (IKaZ)
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Introduction
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is an obligation of every individual Muslim to make such payment according to its laws. One of the fundamental principles of zakat is that the institution of zakat has to be established in the fold of Muslim society in an organized manner and under the responsible supervision of the Muslim Government, or of a special Muslim supervisory body appointed by the said Government. Zakat due from various sources, either from individual and business sector must be properly collected and be kept in the highest plane of integrity, courtesy and accountability (Zayas, 2003; Shawal, 2007). This is not only to ensure that zakat meets the religious obligation, in accordance with the Syariah Law (Quran 9: 60; 103), but the other important aspect is that zakat can be an important economic tool for establishing a proper mechanism to improve the Muslim economic well being and needs. The institution of zakat must be established and governed in the most proper manner based on the god commands and follow the principles, rules and regulations that established by the Sunnah (Hadith). The Islamic institution of zakat is accountable to all interested parties, especially the zakat payers (muzaqki) and zakat  recipients (muztahik). It therefore remains the jurisdiction of zakat organization to establish an appropriate practice for the purpose of effective and efficient of collecting zakat dues and distributing of zakat funds.

Rules Governing the Administration of Zakat Institution
Zakat, likes the other pillars of Islam, is clearly set forth in the most authentic sources, viz., the Quran and the reliable Hadith as an important institution in Muslim ummah. The main fundamental Quranic Principles relating to rules governing the administration of zakat is that Zakat is a form of tax that a Muslim State may impose on its Muslim citizens. Zakat must be properly governed in full conformity with the Quranic Principles and with due deference to the instructions given by the Prophet (SAW). The principle rules governing the administration of zakat requires that the part the State is to supervise and control the implementation of zakat in that particular State. The main responsibility of the State is to enforce observance of the Quranic Law of Zakat as directed by the verse 103 of Surah IX, and to watch over the smooth functioning of the collection and distribution of Zakat funds. The State has the authority to modify these Zakat rules in matters of detail implementation and this must be always within the spirit of Quranic Precepts relating to thereto. In other word, zakat must be governed in the most proper manner according to the Syariah law and the state has the full responsibility and accountability to implement the law of zakat within the jurisdiction.
The main objective of the rules is to ensure zakat implementation meets the requirements of Syariah Islam and well managed. At the end, the full potential benefits of Zakat as an Islamic instrument for achieving social welfare and well-being become a practical and significance means. In order to implement zakat properly, involvement of the State, the institution of Zakat and Zakat-officials is indispensable. On the other hand, the right of supervising the smooth functioning of the Institution of zakat, of collecting the zakat dues, and of distributing the zakat funds unquestionably vests in the Muslim State (Zayas, 2003).
The role of Muslim state in governing the institution of zakat is to establish a proper procedures, regulations and administrative practices for implementing zakat. The involvement of the state in managing and governing zakat is an important issue, especially in a majority Muslim country.

Zakat Institution and Management Practices in Malaysia
In the Malaysian contexts, Islam has been recognized as the official religion of the State. As stated in the Federal Constitution, Article 3 (1), It is clear that Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation. Corresponding to this article, item 1 of List II (State List) of Schedule 9 of the Federal Constitution it is provided, inter alia, that the power to enact Islamic laws includes law of Zakat, Fitrah and Baitulmal or other similar Islamic religious affairs vests to the jurisdiction of every State. The Sultan as Head of the Muslim religion may acts in his discretion to appoint the State religious officials and to determine the direction of the religious affairs in the State (Mohamed Suffian, 1978). Therefore, the Sultan acts very important part in the issue of fatwas or rulings on the Muslim religion and law. He has the responsibility to ensure that Islamic law is fully implemented and practiced by the Muslim citizens in the State. In this sense, the main jurisdiction of the State relating to Islamic law is to establish an enactment and to ensure the effective implementation of the enactment, and to establish a proper institution to regulate the implementation of the Syariah law.

The State government has certain jurisdictions in managing the State, including the rules of sustaining the right implementation of Islamic affairs, and zakat is one of the main jurisdictions. The jurisdiction of the State through the State Religious Council is indispensable and it is the authority of the State Religious Council to establish a proper system of zakat and appoint zakat-officials to manage zakat organization. In the past, zakat was implemented in very traditional approach and the administration of zakat very much depends on Quranic Law and Hadith by strictly adopting the fundamental law and principles of zakat that established by the conventional fuqaha, especially by the jurists of the Shafii School of Law. The administration of zakat was purely designated as religious obligation and nothing connected with social obligation. The main responsibility of zakat institution was to ensure zakat dues is collected and distributed according to the lawful beneficiaries. For this very reason, the scope of zakat was restricted and zakat funds may never be used for any other purposes. However, since 1996 a clear understanding on the broader scope of zakat has widened the practices of managing the institution of zakat. Several initiatives are being undertaken by zakat institution to modernise system of zakat in Malaysia. Through the corporatization policy and the deployment of ICT, the government believe that zakat can be improved and play significant role for Muslim society. The establishment of corporatize zakat center at state level has contributed significant change and management improvement in zakat organization.

Internet Applications and e-Zakat in Malaysia
The emergence of the internet and concerns for developments in processing capacity as well as data storage over the 1990s has significantly altered the environment for ICT use across society and institution.The development of ICT and its wide applications has contributed a significant change in a way an institution disseminate information and delivery services to citizens. This application enables the citizens to get service or information in minutes or hours, versus today’s standard of days or weeks. Citizens should be able to access any required information without having to go to the office. Public also be able to communicate directly to any institution and give comments or any suggestions on issues relating to their interest via e-mail. Malaysia has embarked on a number of measures to ensure that information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a vital role in that society. The advancement of electronic government is one of the government initiatives that aim to transform and improve government services delivery to the citizen (Mohsin, 2006; Sohaimi 2003). e-Zakat is one of the electronic service delivery that newly introduced by zakat organizations aims to provide better quality zakat service delivery to citizens in Malaysia. An effective application of e-zakat contributes significant improvements in zakat system including:
 Simplifying zakat service delivery;
 Eliminating layers of zakat procedures and management practices;
 Making it possible for citizens, businesses, and other levels of government to easily find information and get service from zakat institution;
 Simplifying agencies' business processes and reducing costs through integrating and eliminating redundant systems;
 Enabling achievement of the other elements of zakat organization Management Agenda; and streamlining zakat operations to guarantee rapid response to citizen needs.

Many zakat organizations in Malaysia are now deploying e-Zakat by adopting web-based internet applications to make available zakat information electronically to citizens. The application of these technologies can transform the business of zakat organizations, which traditionally used manual system and human based working practices. The e-Zakat significantly improve internal work processes, increase the performance and enhancing governance sphere of zakat organizations.


Table 1: Website and Portal Address of Zakat Organizations in Malaysia

State
Zakat Organization
Website/Portal
Selangor
Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS-MAIS)
http://www.e-zakat.com.my/baru/
Federal Territory
Pusat Pungutan Zakat (PPZ-MAIWP)
http://zakat.com.my/
Melaka
Pusat Zakat Melaka (PZM)
http://www.izakat.com/
Negeri Sembilan
Pusat Zakat Negeri Sembilan (PZNS)
http://www.zakatns.com.my/v2/intro/index.html
Johor
Majlis Agama Islam Johor (MAIJ)
http://www.maij.gov.my/
Pahang
Pusat Kutipan Zakat Pahang (PKZP)
http://www.zakatpahang.com.my/
Terengganu
Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Terengganu (MAIDAM)
http://www.maidam.gov.my/puz_pungutan.php
Kelantan
Majlis Agama Islam Kelantan
http://maik.kelantan.gov.my/
Perak
Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Perak
http://www.maiamp.gov.my/
Pulau Pinang
Pusat Urus Zakat P.Pinang (PUZP)
http://www.izakatdpuz.com.my/web2/index.asp
Kedah
Jabatan Zakat Negeri Kedah
http://www.zakatkedah.com/
Perlis
Majlis Agama Islam Perlis
http://www.perlis.gov.my/maips/
Sabah
Pusat Zakat Sabah
http://www.zakat.sabah.gov.my/
Sarawak
Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak (TBS)
http://www.tabung-baitulmal-sarawak.org.my/

From the table, it shows that most zakat organizations in Malaysia have already developed and used web-based internet applications and e-Zakat as a media to communicate with citizens and deliver services. The e-Zakat as an electronic and online delivery of services creates new sphere of zakat and promote more efficient and cost-effective zakat institution, facilitate more convenient services, allow greater public access to zakat information, and make zakat institution more accountable to citizens. Although the most fundamental use of web-based is for information delivery to citizens by adopting broadcasting model website, but the web or portal is also can be used as a platform to facilitate interactive communication between zakat organization with citizens, business communities and other agencies. To support this, the website will need to contain information that is useful to public, presented in a way that will help them with the enquiries, and which will enable them to pay zakat online with zakat organizations. The strategy for using the website should be the integral part of communications strategy for the zakat organizations. In particular, the corporate communications strategy of the zakat organization should be updated to reflect the maturity of the web as a mainstream communication channel, including providing services in enabling interactions for electronic service delivery.

Example 1: Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS-MAIS)

Lembaga Zakat Selangor (LZS-MAIS) for example has developed a web-based internet zakat and e-Zakat since 2002 as the strategy to improve the performance and governance sphere of the organization. The website of Lembaga Zakat Selangor can be accessed at http://www.e-zakat.com.my/baru/. The web provides very important zakat news and information to citizens, especially zakat payers. The web also facilitates online zakat payment and interactive communication between the organization and citizens which enable the users to download form, register as zakat payers and view their record on zakat payment online.  Through this system, LZS is also able to be transparence by publishing the major zakat information, especially on zakat collection and distribution which is the major element of governance sphere to build public confident and enhancing public integrity of the zakat organization.
The e-Zakat becomes an alternative means, especially for zakat payers who want to pay zakat by using non cash payment such as credit card or bank card. The most important aspect of online zakat or e-Zakat is that e-Zakat has improved citizen participation in zakat, improving organizational transparency and widening global networking of zakat organization throughout the region and the rest of countries around the world. The advancement of e-Zakat by LZS-MAIS has improved the quality service and enhancing governance sphere of the zakat organization.
Example 2: Pusat Pungutan Zakat Wilayah Persekutuan (PPZ-MAIWP)

Pusat Pungutan Zakat Wilayah Persekutuan (PPZ-MAIWP) is another example of zakat organization which seriously advancing e-Zakat as an electronic means to promote more efficient, effective and better quality zakat services delivery. It can be accessed at http://zakat.com.my/. PPZ-MAIWP has started advancing electronic channel since 2000 as a media to disseminate zakat information, but also use to communicate with public, employees and employers in the public and private sector organizations.



Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura Website & e-Zakat
Department of Zakat and Income Tax of Saudi Arabia

The Significance Impacts of e-Zakat in Malaysia
Providing services through website and other digital channel is already providing the following benefits to citizens and government. The development of e-zakat has contributed significant impacts on the performance of zakat organizations in Malaysia which can be analysed on several aspects such as
1.      Improve Zakat Collection – online zakat payment has attracted many citizens to pay zakat via internet kiosk.
2.      Enhancing Information Dissemination – many zakat informations can be published and accessible to anybody.
3.      Improve Public Participation – people has direct opportunity to interact with zakat organization via e-mail.
4.      Improve Organizational Transparency – zakat organization uses this media to inform public on the business operation.
5.      Improve service delivery – more services can be added through the website
6.      Extend global communication and networking -  

Conclusion


The most important aspect of online zakat or e-Zakat is that e-zakat has improved citizen participation in zakat, improving organizational transparency, integrity, accountability and widening global networking of zakat organization throughout the region and the rest of countries around the world. The deployment of e-zakat has significant impacts on the way zakat institution operates and deliver its services to citizens

Zakat Collection in Malaysia 2001 - 2006
Reference

1.      Mohsin Hj. Ahmad, Implementation of Electronic Government in Malaysia: The Status and Potential for Better Service to Public, Public Sector ICT Management Review. Oct 2006 – Mac 2007, Vol 1 No. 1
2.       Sohaimi Md Salleh, The Multimedia Super Coridor (MSC) and E-Government Initiatives in Malaysia. Paper presented at the Third ITU Waseda University Workshop for Regulators and Policy Makers held in conjunction with the World Summit on E-Government organized by GITI, Waseda University in Tokyo (October 27 – 30, 2003).


[1] Associate Professor at Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies University Technology Mara Melaka and Fellow Zakat Research Institute of Malaysia (IKaZ).
[2] Paper prepared for presentation at the World Zakat Forum organized by BAZNAS at University Gajah Mada Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Mei 27 – 30, 2009).

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