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Waqaf proposals include international, youth funds

Azlan Othman

A list of 16 proposals was submitted by Dr Cecep Soleh Kurniawan lecturer at the Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) to Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) Haji Mohammad Rosli bin Haji Ibrahim during a forum, titled ‘Challenges of Traditional and Contemporary Waqaf Integration’, yesterday.

Among the proposals were using waqaf to reduce government expenditure in critical sectors such as education, health and religion; modernising waqaf transaction using fintech; introduction of comprehensive Waqaf Act legislation; developing waqaf index in collaboration with local and international universities; redefining corporate waqaf; and registration of corporate waqaf with Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) or the government

Other proposals included international collaboration to develop Waqaf Nusantara Fund with Malaysia, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries to promote social economic development especially in food security and entrepreneurship; teaching waqaf, zakat and sedekah at primary school level or as co-curricular activity; and additional waqaf promotion in mosques and media.

Also proposed were the creation of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) waqaf to boost youth entrepreneurship; and collection of waqaf from government-linked companies (GLC) on top of business zakat.

The forum was organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in collaboration with Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) and UNISSA in conjunction with the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (Brunei MYCE) 2022.

Panellists at the forum. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

The event saw several panellists from Brunei and overseas including member of the Syariah Advisory Body at Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) Dr Hajah Mas Nooraini binti Haji Mohiddin, Chief Executive Officer of Pergas Investment Holdings Dr Shamsiah binti Abdul Karim and Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Waqaf Board Dr Imam Teguh Saptono, moderated by Dean of the Faculty of Syariah at KUPU SB Dr Haji Noralizam bin Haji Aliakbar.

Dr Hajah Mas Nooraini said waqaf, both traditional and contemporary, is not confined to land or assets and that effective waqaf management can lead to better economy and help achieve Brunei Vision 2035.

Dr Shamsiah on the other hand touched on the integration of traditional and contemporary waqaf and that it is a form of sedekah which is an important ibadah on top of its significance to the society and economy.

Dr Imam Teguh underlined the opportunities to expand traditional waqaf and said the best asset is the one with the most utility, adding that integration is key to comprehensive waqaf management

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Religious) at the MoRA Haji Mohd Serudin bin Haji Timbang, was also present.