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Sarawak Report: Misuse of Islamic funds not new

Published:  |  Modified:

In the wake of the Tabung Haji-1Malaysia Development Berhad furore, whistleblower site Sarawak Report said the alleged misappropriation of religious funds isn't entirely new.

 

The site claimed a similar scenario had occurred in the land of the hornbills, where a state minister allegedly invested Baitulmal funds into development projects.

 

"Malaysians have reacted in shock to the revelation that funds raised by the faithful have been used as a piggybank by BN bigwigs. But, for Sarawakians it is all deja vu," it said in a posting yesterday.

 

They were referring to an expose in 2013 , where Sarawak Assistant Islamic Affairs Minister Daud Abdul Rahman ( photo ) is accused of awarding the construction contract for a state building to a company reportedly owned by him.

 

"At the time in 2013 there was outrage in Sarawak, similar to the outrage this weekend in West Malaysia over the Tabung Haji scandal.

 

"Police reports were lodged.  An election has since been held.  The chief minister has now been changed. Yet, Daud remains as (assistant) minister for Islamic affairs," the Sarawak Report said.

 

According to Companies Commission Malaysia documents published by the whistleblower site, Daud is a majority-owner of Eastbourne Corporation Sdn Bhd.

 

In May 2013, the company was awarded a RM253 million award to build Baitul Makmur II by the council of which Daud is a board member, contractor registry website CIBD shows.

 

However, a Bursa Malaysia filing in June 2013 revealed that Eastbourne subcontracted the project to public-listed company Hong Seng Lee for RM288 million or RM35 million less.

Under probe

 

The issue had been brought to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission's attention, and Daud has said he would cooperate with the probe.

 

“I cannot answer (the allegations) because of legal implications. Let the authorities decide,” he was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post in 2013.

 

He added the Sarawak Baitulmal fund had always been transparent about its collection and the manner the funds were distributed and spent.

 

The fund's general manager Datu Abang Mohamad Shibli Abang Nailie also said the fund did not use the money for development purposes, adding that they first required approval from the state mufti office, before funds received can be used, based on set guidelines.

 

Tabung Haji meanwhile stirred up a hornet's nest when it revealed it had bought land belonging to 1MDB for a "discounted price" of RM188.5 million.

 

After a hail of brickbats, the pilgrimage fund's chairperson Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim announced yesterday the land will be sold off to regain the trust of contributors.

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