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KUALA LUMPUR: A group of Malaysian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that had been active in fundraising activities for the Palestinians clarified that they were not involved in any drive for the maintenance of Al Aqsa Mosque.

The NGOs, which included Muslim Care Malaysia, Viva Palestina Malaysia, Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (ABIM), Global Peace Mission, MyCARE, HALUAN Malaysia, Majlis Perundangan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia, MEDICOM, Cakna Palestine and Malaysian Humanitarian Aid and Relief held a joint press conference after a meeting at the Muslim Care office, today.

Muslim Care Malaysia president Zulkifli Wahijan said it was illegal to do so because the maintenance of the mosque was under the purview of the Jordanian Waqf Ministry.

However, donations collected for the Palestinians had reached targeted recipients including those living near Al Aqsa Mosque.

“Our organisations have been transparent on our money trails as we are required to send annual audit reports to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) or Registrar of Companies (RoC),” he said.

Zulkifli said the meeting was held in response to the allegations by the Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Walid Abu Ali who claimed misuse of donation money and the donations failed to reach Al Aqsa Mosque's fund for years.

Walid had told the New Straits Times that only donations raised by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) were accounted for.

Zulkifli said the NGOs were upset with the allegation and claimed that they were questioned by the public over alleged involvement in unscrupulous activities.

“We urge the ambassador to provide proof or retract his statement and issue a public apology because we are not involved in raising funds for the mosque’s maintenance,” he said.

Zulkifli said the NGOs have been raising funds to address the plights of the Palestinians including those living around the mosque.

He said these activities were often publicised on social media sites and the NGOs would liaise with their counterparts abroad.

“We want this matter to be clarified as we are dealing with donations. We are also hoping to meet up with the ambassador soon.”

Zulkifli said for the past 17 years since Gaza was affected by the Israeli regime, various help was given by the Malaysian NGOs in the form of money, food, healthcare and also donations meant for education and infrastructure.

The New Straits Times had contacted the ambassador today and he maintained his earlier statement.

Muslim Care Malaysia president Zulkifli Wahijan (seated, third from left) speaking at a press conference at the Muslim Care office today. - NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH
Muslim Care Malaysia president Zulkifli Wahijan (seated, third from left) speaking at a press conference at the Muslim Care office today. - NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH
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