by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by ARIF KARTONO
TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the disposal of Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (TH) assets was necessary as the properties and stocks were worthless and brought little benefit to the pilgrims fund.
TH transferred shares and assets of non-performing holdings to Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB), a Ministry of Finance special-purpose vehicle, in an almost RM20 billion deal more than a year ago.
It was part of the pilgrims fund’s kitchen-sinking exercise to balance its financials, dragged down for years by failed investments in stocks and properties.
“Some of those properties are not useful, they are not giving any returns. Therefore, they should get out of it. There are other ways of investing the money to give better returns,” the prime minister (PM) said after the launch of the National Anti-Drug Month in Putrajaya yesterday.
He was asked about TH’s hospitality arm, TH Hotel & Residence Sdn Bhd, transferring four hotels to UJSB.
The pilgrims fund recently announced the transfer of the four hotels each in Sabah, Penang, Kedah and Terengganu to UJ Property Management Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned unit of UJSB.
TH in a statement yesterday said the hotels — set to be renamed as Raia Hotels — will remain operational and the transfer will be effective on April 1.
The majority of the hotel staff will be unaffected by the change, while 10% will be reassigned to a hotel in Kelana Jaya, which is still owned by TH.
The four hotels were part of the RM19.9 billion worth of assets transferred to UJSB last year. Others included 106 non-performing stocks and 25 other properties sold at up to 120% above market value.
All four hotels were priced above 52% from its book value in the transfer. TH Hotel Terengganu was transferred for RM133.74 million against its book value of RM88 million; TH Hotel and Convention Centre Alor Setar at RM160.63 million (versus RM105.69 million); TH Hotel Kota Kinabalu at RM 110.18 million (from RM72.5 million); and TH Hotel Bayan Lepas at RM89.66 million (from RM59 million).
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir reiterated his intention to pass the baton to his successor after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) Summit in Kuala Lumpur in November this year.
“As I have said, I am always prepared to step down. If I’m told to resign, I will resign.
“That is my promise, I will resign. Whatever decision is made, I will resign after APEC Summit,” he said.
Last week, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the PM succession plan would be finalised during the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting this Friday.