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Malaysian spends zakat on housing for Padang quake victims

DUBAI: A Dubai-based Malaysian businessman is embarking on a project to build 200 low-cost houses for earthquake victims in the city of Padang in West Sumatra, Indonesia.

He is funding the venture with his "zakat" (tithe) contributions, according to Abdul Karim Abdul Rahim, whose business consultancy company, VGlobal FZE, has been roped in by the businessman to implement the project, including design and project management.

Abdul Karim said each unit would cost around RM30,000, meaning that the businessman will fork out up to RM6 million for the project.

"Each house is designed to have three bedrooms and three bathrooms. It's about 700sq ft in size, and each will be built on 3,000sq ft of land," the UK-trained architect told Bernama.

"The businessman wants to do something new. He said that if you want to help these people, it's better to help them properly by giving them a comfortable house where they can plant things around the house," Abdul Karim said.

The project promoters recently conducted site inspection in Padang, which was hit by a devastating earthquake on Sept 30, 2009.

"After the earthquake happened, he called me up to say that he wanted to help rebuild shattered communities in Padang," Abdul Karim said.

The low-cost housing scheme in an area called Lubuk Buaya has been given the green light by the mayor of Padang.

City administrators have gazetted a 100ha site for the initiative. The land is being provided for free.

"Each prefabricated unit will be able to withstand up to magnitude 8.5 tremors as well as winds of up to 185kmh. It can last between 15 and 20 years," according to Abdul Karim. -- Bernama

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