A property in Geylang has become a point of contention between the Singapore Islamic Religious Council (Muis) and internet users who claim it has mistreated the inherited property.
Muis has made it clear that the property entrusted to him at 5 Lorong 9, Geylang could not be used as a religious school as intended due to its dilapidated condition.
The Straits Times believes the property was sold for this reason and the proceeds were used to help fund the purchase of another building on Beach Road.
Muis issued a statement yesterday after Facebook user Mohamed Ismail Ismail posted to the Suara Melayu Singapura group last Friday that Muis had mismanaged the property that belonged to his great-grandfather.
In a photo he uploaded of a property with a red Chinese banner and various Chinese prayer items, he said, “Haji Pitchay Meerah Hussain Wakaf’s intention was to fund an Islamic school; instead, they got a Chinese temple.”
In his statement, Muis said the estate, which was a wakaf inherited from Haji Pitchay Meerah Hussain, was not generating any income.
In this way, she “migrated” Mr. Pitchay’s intention to another property in Bugis, which she could use the proceeds to monetize to make contributions to madrasas or religious schools.
A wakaf is traditionally defined as the permanent dedication of any property by a Muslim for any purpose designated as religious and benevolent under Muslim law. The concept has since evolved into a trust fund where money is invested and the proceeds are used to help the community.
Muis is the administrator of all wakaf in Singapore under the Administration of Muslim Law Act.
This is done on the advice of the Fatwa Committee, a group of high-ranking Islamic scholars who make religious decisions here.
“Since the original property was in a state of disrepair and was not generating any income to fulfill the wakaf’s original intent, Muis moved the wakaf to 11 Beach Road, a 999-year leasehold commercial property, in 2002,” said the city council.
“Muis felt that this would be the best and closest alternative to fulfilling the wishes of the wakif (heir), since the original property could no longer be used as a madrasah.”
The council added that it believed that if the property in Geylang were left in its original condition and location, the late Mr Pitchay’s intentions would not be achieved.
Muis said that since the wakaf migrated, it has been able to distribute the wakaf’s proceeds to full-time medresses, consistent with Mr. Pitchay’s original intent.
The council found that the wakaf has paid more than $ 200,000 to Madrasah Al-Maarif and Madrasah Wak Tanjong in Geylang and Madrasah Alsagoff in Bugis over the past seven years.
She reaches out to surviving members of Mr. Pitchay’s family to assure them that his wishes will be respected and that the “broader intent behind the creation of the wakaf” will continue to be fulfilled.