Thoddoo lawmaker alleges Zakat distribution was unfair, asks for an inquiry

Thoddoo MP Hassan Shiyan. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Thoddoo parliamentarian Hassan Shiyan has submitted a petition to the Parliament’s Social Affairs Committee alleging the distribution of Zakat among the poor this year had been unfair as it had been based on a list compiled last year.

The Social Affairs Committee convened for a meeting to discuss the petition on Wednesday afternoon.

Shiyan, in his petition, said that a list complied last year would have been outdated, and that distribution of Zakat based on an outdated list was therefore unfair to the country’s poor.

He said that the fair distribution of Zakat among the deserving was greatly encouraged in the religion of Islam, but that the Islamic Ministry’s actions towards the distribution of Zakat this year infringed on the rights of those deserving of Zakat.

“I have been informed that councils were instructed via a circular, that the distribution of Fitr al-Zakat for 1440 [2020] was to be made based on 1439 [2019]’s list. I therefore request that you hold an inquiry into this as a matter of great priority,” said Shiyan in his petition.

Discussing the petition, Hinnavaru MP Jeehan Mahmood said the people living in poverty in Maldives have increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I believe there have been some major changes to those deserving of Zakat. 2019’s list will be very different. The people who are living below the poverty line, the people who have gone bankrupt… The number of people living in poverty due to the changes to livelihoods will have greatly increased,” said Jeehan.

Jeehan proposed that the committee seek access to the Islamic Ministry’s records on Zakat distribution, and to clarify the reason for the Islamic Ministry’s decision to distribute Zakat based on last year’s list.

Islamic Ministry has announced it collected MVR 6.6 million as Zakat this year, which comes up to MVR 3,800 per head.

1,715 people registered as poor in the Maldivian capital Male’ City last year, out of whom Zakat has been distributed to 1,697 people.