Making a big difference

as-Salihin LogoIncorporated under the Companies Act 1965 and registered under the Trust Companies Act 1949, as-Salihin is a Trust Company established to meet the crying need of the ordinary Muslim to preserve, protect and distribute his hard-earned assets for the benefit of his loved ones once he departs for the hereafter.

The above statement from as-Salihin Trustee Berhad’s website is very true. Muslims, as much as non-Muslims, require estate planning services. And what better way to introduce them to Islamic estate planning than through as-Salihin Trustee Berhad which was officially launched last 16 Aug 2006.

There aren’t many specialist Islamic estate planning companies of calibre in Malaysia, so the presence of as-Salihin Trustee, which is 80 per cent owned by individual shareholders and 20 per cent by the Rockwills Group, is widely welcomed by the Muslim community here.

At its launch, as-Salihin Trustee’s Chief Executive Officer Abdul Aziz Peru Mohamed said the company was set up to meet the needs of Muslims to preserve, protect and distribute their assets.

This is done through providing wasiat-writing services amd the company has set a target of between 1,200 and 2,000 clients — with assets worth RM600,000 and above — by the end of the year.

Earlier, as-Salihin Trustee’s chairman Tun Dato Dr Haji Mohamed Salleh Abas remarked that at least 95 per cent of adult Muslims in Malaysia are still ignorant of the value and virtues of Islamic estate planning.

This ignorance stemmed partly due to a popular misconceived notion among many Muslims that all they ever required for the management and distribution of inheritance was the faraid system.

But as Salleh Abas pointed out, many people are ignorant about the fact that faraid merely determines the specific value or share of living descendents.

Islamic estate planning will make a difference by providing the mechanism to actually facilitate the distribution. Asset management and a faster distribution process should bring about economic benefits to the Muslims.

In many cases, Salleh Abas added, assets have to be shared among many descendents. And when they fail to get everyone’s consent to develop their assets, they risk losing the commercial value.

He gave as a very good example Kampung Baru, the oldest Malay residential area in Kuala Lumpur.

While high-rise developments have taken and are still taking place all around Kuala Lumpur, Kampung Baru itself — sitting on prime land in the heart of the city — is oblivious to new development and seems to have been bypassed.

This, according to as-Salihin’s chairman, was primarily due to two reasons: one, some descendents are sharing lots as small as 1.8 sq ft* and two, land there has lost its value because many joint owners could not reach agreement on developing it.

* Note: to the uninitiated, 1.8 sq ft is equivalent to a square piece of land measuring only about 16 inches or 40cm each side. That’s how small this land is, and imagine eight, nine or 10 people sharing the title to this small piece.

Footnote to as-Salihin Trustee Berhad:

  • Founding directors: Tun Dato Dr Haji Mohamed Salleh Abas (former Lord President of Malaysia), Tunku Dato Dr Hajjah Sofiah Jewa (founder of Yayasan Tun Suffian Berdaftar) and Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood (founder of Mercy Malaysia).
  • Board of Syariah Advisors: Tun Dato Dr Haji Mohamed Salleh Abas (chairman), Dato Setia Haji Mohd Tamyes b Abdul Wahid (Mufti of Selangor), Prof Dato Dr Mahmood Zuhdi b Haji Abdul Majid (Professor at Department of Fiqh and Usul Academic of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya) and Dr Siti Mashitoh binti Mahamood (Head, Department of Syariah and Law, University of Malaya).
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