New initiative launched to upgrade wakaf properties

(From right) Haji Sallim Abdul Kadir , Dr Fatris Bakaram and  Haji Abdul Razak Maricar speaking to beneficiaries of the wakaf disbursement.
(From right) Haji Sallim Abdul Kadir , Dr Fatris Bakaram and Haji Abdul Razak Maricar speaking to beneficiaries of the wakaf disbursement.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - A new Wakaf Improvement Initiative will be launched by Muis and its subsidiary Warees at the end of this year to upgrade endowed properties, also known as wakaf properties.

This will translate into more upgrading works being carried out to improve the condition of wakaf properties, such as painting, roof repair and window replacement works. This in turn will ensure that they can attract tenants who will maximise returns for the properties.

A new wakaf dispute resolution framework has also been established by Muis to resolve disputes amicably among trustees and beneficiaries.

"Through this framework, we aim for wakaf disputes to be resolved amicably and without incurring the high costs of legal proceedings," said chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), Haji Abdul Razak Maricar on Thursday afternoon at the Al-Ansar Mosque.

The new framework involves mediation and inquiry conducted by a 10-member Wakaf Dispute Resolution Committee with expertise in legal, syariah and alternative dispute resolution.

Despite weak commercial business markets, wakaf donations managed to reach a new all-time record of $3.1 million this year due to high growth from rental income. The money was disbursed by Muis to 63 beneficiaries this afternoon at the Al-Ansar Mosque.

Twenty-seven mosques will receive a total of $1.5 million from the disbursement.All madrasahs will receive more than $391,051, while close to $320,640 will go to 29 Muslim and voluntary welfare organisations. These voluntary welfare organisations include the Bedok Youth Society for the Disabled and rehabilitation centre, Club HEAL.

The money will be used by the beneficiaries for purposes such as social development, healthcare and Islamic education programmes.

The remaining monies will be disbursed overseas or given to the poor.

Muis is currently reviewing the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA) with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to strengthen trustee management of wakafs after public consultation earlier this year.

The Act defines wakaf as the permanent dedication by a Muslim of any property for any purpose defined by Muslim law as religious and charitable.

Besides expanding the grounds on which trustees can be removed, the amendments seek to mandate Muis' approval for trustee appointment and removal, as well as provide for a separate sinking fund for wakafs.