Four main constraints of developing waqf land

13 Jul 2022 12:00pm
Photo for illustration purpose only - Source: 123RF
Photo for illustration purpose only - Source: 123RF

SHAH ALAM - There are four constraints in developing a waqf (endowment) land in the country, according to Yayasan Waqaf Malaysia (YWM).

The constraints, its chief executive officer Dr Amir Shaharuddin said were in terms of administration and management, legal, the physical condition of the land as well as the type of waqf.

He said in terms of administration and management, there were lack of funding for the operations, ownership registration of the land and incomplete database.

"In terms of legal, it involves inconsistencies of the waqf law between states causing different interpretations of the waqf land development.

"Secondly, there is no specific enactment involving the administration and management of waqf in different states. Until now, Selangor is the only state with specific laws for waqf," he told Sinar Harian on Tuesday.

He said physical constraint involved the location of the land being less strategic and having no potential to be developed.

Other than that, he said the land might be located at flood-prone areas, hill areas or small areas.

The constraints in terms of the type of waqf, he said included lands that could not be developed due to it being a special waqf.

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Amir said there were 30,888.89 hectares of waqf lands throughout the country and 1,236.91 hectares of the lands have not been developed.

This, he said was based on the 2016 Waqf Property Development Transformation Master Plan Study.

However, the data has changed because it was compiled six years ago and the current number could only be obtained from the State Islamic Religious Council (Main) as the sole trustee of waqf.

Amir said Main was actively developing the waqf land throughout the country to overcome the constraints.

"For example, the Penang Islamic religious council is working together with UDA Holdings to develop the Wakaf Seetee Aishah 2," he said.

He added that other than the development of commercial waqf, Main was also active in implementing socioeconomic projects such as waqf for agricultural activities.

The waqf lands that were available, he said have been identified and developed with short term for agricultural waqf in moderation besides the implementation of several pilot projects started by Main in Selangor, Penang and Johor.

"However, YWM have started its efforts in agricultural waqf. It is one of the platforms using the full potential of waqf lands while bringing revenue for its people, entrepreneurs and Main.

"This project had opened job opportunities for the people and could help increase their socioeconomic level.

"YWM has taken steps in agricultural projects through Wakaf Pertanian Bersepadu (Watani) in Putrajaya," he said.

This agricultural venture, he said could also benefit the people especially the B40 group.

Food security expert from Universiti Putra Malayasia (UPM) Professor Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Juraimi said if there were companies involved in developing waqf lands for the purpose of agriculture, they could hire the B40 group as workers.

"It could help the group reduce their daily expenses and increase food production in the country without having to import it from overseas.

"Some plants that could be managed are cabbage, chilli and ginger that are mostly imported.

"Indirectly, it could decrease food security crisis in Malaysia reduce money that was going out," he said.