Zukri is expected to leave the pilgrim fund ahead of his 2-year contract on health concerns
by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN, SHAZNI ONG & SULHI KHALID/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) group MD and CEO Datuk Seri Zukri Samat (picture) could be on his way out due to health reasons, three sources confirmed to The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
Zukri, who was appointed to steer the turnaround at TH in July last year, is expected to leave the pilgrim fund ahead of his two-year contract after leading efforts to stabilise the troubled state firm over the past 12 months.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter said Zukri has expressed his concern to Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“He is afraid he can’t give 100%,” the source told TMR. It is also learned that Zukri has recommended a successor for deliberation. The final decision, however, will be made by the PM as TH is under the purview of the PM’s Department.
Zukri’s early departure has been speculated amid concerns about his health. One source, who declined to be identified, said Zukri has been “taking it easier” in recent months due to health reasons.
“He did mention that once he has done his duty, he may want to leave,” the source said, while rejecting rumours that the government is unhappy with Zukri’s performance.
“There is no issue there at all. The ministry is very pleased he has prevented a systemic run on the financial system and depositors continue to have confidence in TH. TH is very stable, operations are improving and haj operations are also going well,” another source said.
Zukri — who came out of retirement to take on the massive task at TH — has managed to clean up the fund’s balance sheet following years of accumulated deficit which has led to unlawful dividend payments to its depositors since 2014.
TH transferred RM19.9 billion worth of underperforming assets at the end of last year to special-purpose vehicle Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd as part of its restructuring plan. The fund has also reduced its exposure in equities by shifting its focus on fixed income to minimise risks.
Prior to his appointment at TH, Zukri previously served as CEO of BIMB Holdings Bhd and was MD of Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd for over a decade.
Zukri also served as ED of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and MD of Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd, a national asset management company set up by the government during the 1997/1998 financial crisis to take over non-performing loans of banks.