Mujahid says SPV is best option for Tabung Haji

According to minister, we managed to plug all the holes caused by the previous govt

Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS 

LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) has managed to restore its balance sheet following the transfer of its underperforming assets to special-purpose vehicle (SPV) Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Religious Affairs Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

Mujahid said the government had considered two other options to help the troubled fund — one being the government acting as a guarantor to TH; and the other involving the injection of more government grants into the fund.

However, he said the government found the SPV option as the best solution on the matter.

Mujahid added that following the transfer, TH’s assets stood at RM76.5 billion against liabilities of RM75.5 billion as of December 2018, compared to assets and liabilities of RM70.3 billion and RM74.4 billion respectively in 2017 — a hole of RM4.1 billion.

The restored balance sheet effectively puts the fund in a legal position to pay hibah (dividends) this year as stipulated in the TH Act 1995.

The bylaw that governs the fund prohibits dividend and bonus payments, if the assets slide lower than its liabilities.

“When Pakatan Harapan took over the administration, we wanted to save TH as its deficit continued to widen. So, we took the best option, which was to remove all underperforming assets.

“Through the transfer of assets, we have restored TH’s balance sheet, where the assets are now valued higher than its liability. What this means is we have managed to plug all the holes that were caused by the previous government,” Mujahid told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Salim Sharif (Barisan Nasional-Jempol) who asked if the transfer of assets had any impact on its depositors.

Mujahid said the pilgrim fund will make an announcement on its dividends soon.

The transfer of assets to Urusharta Jamaah, a company wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance, involved 29 real estates, one unlisted company and 106 domestic security assets for RM19.9 billion.

The ministry recently released a detailed breakdown of the RM19.9 billion figure, which revealed that the transfers of both equities and properties were done at 120% above the market value.

However, the state-owned fund with about RM72 billion deposits warned that it is still not out of the woods and its over nine million depositors should not expect a hefty dividend.

Last year, Mujahid issued a damning report on TH, highlighting illegal dividend distributions since 2014, assets shrinkage and claims of accounting irregularities to mask a higher profit.