A lavish lifestyle will stir negative public perceptions
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Administrators of alms funds collected in the National Alms Agency (Baznas) and private alms institutions must refrain from hedonistic behaviours that may hurt residents' feelings, a Religious Affairs Ministry's official stated.

"A lavish lifestyle will stir negative public perceptions," the Ministry's Director of Zakat and Waqf Utilisation Tarmizi Tohor stated here, Tuesday.

Tohor's statement was made in connection with the suspected misappropriation of alms funds committed by philanthropic organisation Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT), as revealed by magazine Tempo’s investigation.

The investigation revealed that directors of the organisation received extravagant facilities, such as unusually high salaries and luxurious vehicles for daily operational purposes.

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The ministry's director urged alms institutions to strive to ensure optimal distribution and management of alms funds for the common good. Directors of alms institutions must also become an example for the general public, he added.

He then clarified that the ministry is authorised to issue operational licences only to institutions managing alms and donations based on the recommendation of Baznas.

"Regarding the ACT institution currently under public scrutiny, the authority to issue the licence instead lies with the Social Affairs Ministry," Tohor noted.

The director said that the ministry continues to promote the Sharia compliance audit to Baznas and other alms agencies to ensure the alms fund management remains consistent with the Islamic and national laws.

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"(The audit) is performed to prevent misappropriation of funds that residents had entrusted to alms agencies," he stated.

Earlier, the Indonesian Zakat Forum (FOZ) stated that the Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) alms institution is not registered in the organisation nor the alms administrator ecosystem in Indonesia.

FOZ Chairperson Bambang Suherman highlighted the strict nature of the regulation and monitoring of alms institutions involving various stakeholders was established by Law No. 23 of 2022 on Zakat Management.

The strict monitoring process, involving the Religious Affairs Ministry, Baznas, Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), and other organisations, aims to reduce likely fund misappropriation and conflict of interests within alms institutions, he expounded.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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