ALOR STAR: The Kedah government will turn the Universiti Insaniah College (Kuin) campus in Mergong here into an Asnaf Development Complex to provide skills training, basic medical care and hemodialysis services to needy Muslims in the state.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah at the state legislative assembly today said the state government is discussing the project with the Kedah Tithe Board (LZK).
Bashah (BN-Bakar Bata) said the cost to set up the complex, as well as the operation cost for the first five years is expected to be in the region of RM20 million.
“We will be able to save a huge cost as the complex will operate in the existing building of the Kuin campus in Mergong.
“So, we will need a RM20 million initial fund to get the complex up and running and this will be the first dedicated complex to help asnaf group in the country,” Bashah said in his winding up speech at the state legislative assembly sitting yesterday.
Asnaf refers to the eight needy groups of people in Islam which include the poor, hardcore poor, and needy converts, who are entitled to receive zakat (tithe).
Earlier, state Information, Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Tajuddin Abdullah told the state assembly that the complex would be a one-stop centre to help the asnaf group.
Tajuddin (BN-Belantik) said the state government is planning to provide skills training to help the asnaf to earn a living.
“For example, we can train them on sewing skills so that they could produce school uniforms for needy students in the state.
“By doing so, we are able to help to ease the students’ burden and, at the same time, generate income for the asnaf group,” he said.
As for the dialysis services, he said it would benefit up to 400 patients for a span of five years while creating job opportunities for trained dialysis nurses.
Tajuddin said that the state government is also considering to turn the complex as a hostel for 240 asnaf students, besides setting up a clinic and pharmacy to provide basic medical treatment to the needy people for free.
Besides the complex, he said LZK is planning to set up distribution centres for asnaf groups at all districts in Kedah with the pilot project to be carried out in Sik and Baling districts.
He said LZK plans to distribute basic necessities to the asnaf group at the distribution centres via a food coupon system, which will benefit some 1,533 needy people in the two rural districts.
“I also wish to congratulate the new LZK chief executive officer Zakaria Othman for his swift action in approving an allocation to build a new house for a fire victim in Kampung Lubuk Bedil end of last month," he said.