Thursday, January 17, 2013


I am in Jakarta at the moment. Arrived here the day before yesterday, on Tuesday 15th January.

With me are three officers of Selangor Zakat Council (Ariffa, Azimah and Abdul Bashit) and Dato' Syed Ghazali Wafa of Angkasa. The mission is to exchange experiences in managing zakat with Badan Amil Zakat Nasional (BAZNAS), Dompet Dhuafa, and Lembaga Kemanusiaan Nasional Pos Keadilan Peduli Ummat (PKPU). We are not only discussing on the experiences, but also visiting their projects.

The accomplishment of the three Indonesian organizations are amazing indeed. As opposed to the majority of zakat organizations in Malaysia that are more asnaf-oriented, they are more programme-oriented. The programmes too are more of a process of empowering the people, their target groups, rather than merely aiding the people as done by many zakat organisations in Malaysia.

Zakat management in Indonesia has been long initiated by the people themselves through substantial numbers of Lembaga Amil Zakat (LAZ) across the country. Only quite recently the Indonesian government realised the potentials of zakat, hence the establishment of BAZNAS - a government-authorised organisation that are supposed to coordinate zakat activities. Different from zakat managements in Malaysia that are more centralised and only quite recently some like Selangor Zakat Council (LZS) tend to consider a little bit of decentralisation, zakat management in Indonesia has began with a sort of widespread decentralisation and only quite recently tend to think of a sort of centralisation through the establishment of BAZNAS. Decentralisation and centralisation definitely have their respective advantages and disadvantages. The experiences of Indonesia and Malaysia are interesting to dwell into.

Actually, the three organisations we visited are not only dealing with zakat per se. They are also dealing with infaq, sadaqah, awqaf and even corporate social responsibility (CSR) as has been done by PKPU. Unlike zakat-concentrated organisations in Malaysia, they are therefore multi-tasking organisations, with activities ranging from poverty alleviation programmes to education, health services and disaster relief. The geographical coverage of their activities as well as their branches go beyond Indonesia to include countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, et cetera.

Another interesting observation on the zakat organisations in Indonesia is their history of establishment, hence their commitment. All the three organisations we visited, and many others in the country except BAZNAS, are people-initiated organisations. Dompet Dhuafa was intiated by a group of journalists of the Republika daily while PKPU was initiated by a group of activists during the reformasi era. Even BAZNAS too, despite being a government-authorised organisation, is now led by former figures of the people-initiated zakat organisations.

I am flying home this afternoon. At the moment, heavy rain is showering Jakarta. Like Kuala Lumpur, there may be flash floods in some parts of Jakarta. Instead of going to bookshops as planned earlier, we have to leave for the airport now (0900), even though our flight is at 1545. So we are advised by Tommy,  the manager of the PKPU. May Allah SWT eases our journey.

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