Jamil Khir rubbishes zakat abuse claims
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
December 31, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Islamic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom broke his silence today and denied he and two religious officials had misappropriated alms money to pay their legal fees.
Claiming it was “untrue”, the Umno politician said the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) had paid his qazaf legal fees through a RM700,000 special fund allocated by Putrajaya.
“Every year the government allocates a budget to MAIWP and this year RM700,000 is allocated for payments for court cases like conversion, apostasy... we use this money (lah),” he was quoted by Bernama Online as saying.
Jamil Khir (picture)has been hounded to clarify the allegations raised earlier this week by former senior policeman Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, but has kept his lips zipped until today.
The retired Kuala Lumpur criminal investigation chief accused Jamil Khir and two senior MAIWP officials of using zakat funds to settle personal legal fees last year as recorded in the Auditor-General’s Report for 2010.
According to the report, Jamil Khir, MAIWP director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali and MAIWP chief prosecutor Shamsudin Hussain had withdrawn RM63,650 from the council’s zakat fund to settle their legal costs incurred when Anwar named the trio as respondents in his qazaf application.
The audit report also confirmed that the sum was repaid to the fund after the council obtained a RM70,000 grant in June last year as part of its general resources allocation from the government.
PKR has stepped up pressure on Jamil Khir, repeatedly calling on him to personally explain the alleged abuse and why the sum was only repaid in December, six months after MAIWP obtained the grant.
MAIWP said on Thursday the sum from the alms fund had been used to cover legal expenses over trivial syarie lawsuits against the government by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
In response today, Jamil Khir accused Pakatan Rakyat of “harping on the issue” to deflect public attention from its own weaknesses.
He said checks should have been conducted before such claims were made.
On claims concerning his house, Jamil Khir said he bought it in 1994 before he was appointed a minister and that he was still paying for the loan.