Bank Muamalat targets 80,000 new accounts on Ez-Zakat launch

Ez-Zakat will deduct zakat from the account owners’ savings automatically

BY NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd targets 80,000 new deposit accounts in its care, following the launch of its Ez-Zakat Muamalat feature that calculates and deducts zakat from the account owners’ savings automatically.

Its deposit department head Wan Hosni Wan Kamal said with the launch of Ez-Zakat, the bank is targeting between 50,000 and 80,000 new deposit accounts.

“Conservatively, we are looking between these numbers for now, but we are also eyeing higher deposit numbers from existing accounts due to the establishment of this convenient feature,” he said at the launch yesterday.

Ez-Zakat offers automatic calculation and deduction for zakat, currently following the Pusat Pungutan Zakat-Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (PPZ-MAIWP) practice.

According to its Shariah and product development head Dr Shamsiah Abdul Karim, the zakat feature is also in the plans to expand to gold zakat.

“Our target is to expand this feature for the fixed-term and Gold-i accounts as well, within less than one year,” she said.

On the matter of the facility’s expansion to other collection centres, Shamsiah said it would depend on the calculation method.

“Because the method of zakat calculation differs from each centre, it would require some time for us to expand this feature with them, though we aim to make it as soon as possible and begin discussions following this launch.

“However, the expansion and launching of this feature would be speedier in states where the calculation is similar to the Federal Territories’,” she said.

Shamsiah added that with the existence of this facility, the bank and PPZ-MAIWP hope to increase its collection by 10%.

“This is also a conservative target, but we are aiming for a 10% increase in zakat collection following this launch within a one-year period,” she said.

The feature is made available at all of Bank Muamalat’s branches nationwide, but with PPZ-MAIWP’s method of calculation.

The deduction will be made automatically as soon as the depositor savings account has met the nisab requirement of RM13,968.

Meanwhile, Shamsiah said the expansion of Islamic products continues to drive the growth of the Islamic banking segment.

“A great part of the growth is driven by the number of products in investment and financing that are tailored to meet the needs of the Muslim community, with the growing awareness of Islamic banking nowadays that requires Muslims to not be involved in riba (interest).

“That said, we do need to develop and create more products that cater to the market,” she said.

Shamsiah further said it is purely a business decision on whether banks would like to cut interest rates as a way to adopt the Islamic banking model.

“I think it is a matter of a business call at the end of the day, the banks will also (decide) whether there is an opportunity for them to increase their services to their customers,” she said.