TH to undergo management, operational revamp

Putrajaya plans to list the institution as a prescribed Islamic financial institution under the purview of BNM

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Finance Ministry (MoF) yesterday announced that the Cabinet has agreed to revamp Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) to improve its operations and management as a whole.

According to the ministry, this will involve a new operating model for the pilgrim fund and the revision of amendments to the TH Act 1995.

The proposed new model of operations will be reviewed jointly by the Prime Minister’s (PM) Department, MoF, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and TH.

On top of that, Putrajaya also plans to list the institution as a prescribed Islamic financial institution under the purview of BNM under Section 223 of the Islamic Finance Services Act 2013.

“The aspect of governance, integrity and reputation of TH as an Islamic finance savings institution is crucial to improve the stability of TH’s financial position, to secure and protect the rights of Malaysian depositors and haj pilgrims.

“As stated in the TH Act 1995, depositors’ savings remain safe and secured by the government,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

On Wednesday, Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government will establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) under the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950 (Act 119) to investigate issues relating to TH.

MoF noted yesterday that the RCI is to review TH’s audit findings by consultants from 2014 to 2018, as well as the recovery measures undertaken by the pilgrim fund up until 2020 based on the findings of the consultants.

“However, as decided by the Cabinet on July 14, 2021, the scope of this commission will not include the continuing revamp and restructuring efforts that are being undertaken to improve the governance in TH,” it added.

Meanwhile, former Minister for Religious Affairs Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa described the government’s move to set up the RCI to investigate TH issues as the right move.

He said he had long supported the establishment of the RCI, granted that its members consist of qualified experts.

The Parit Buntar MP also said if he was called to testify, he is ready to reveal the steps and actions that the then Pakatan Harapan government had taken to save TH, including police reports made on individuals involved in the misappropriation of the funds.

According to Mujahid, during the 22-month period entrusted to look after TH, he acted on the report of the professional audit firm mentioned to succeed in the restructuring plan where TH was in dire financial straits and integrity.

“The restructuring plan was introduced transparently and approved by the Cabinet and explained publicly in Parliament.

“It became a hot issue once again when Perikatan Nasional came to power and the issue of ‘selling Muslim assets’ continued to be sensationalised despite the success of TH’s restructuring plan being acknowledged by the current government,” he added.

Following that, TH welcomed the government’s decision to set up the RCI on any arising issues regarding the fund’s audit results from 2014 to 2020.

Its group MD and CEO Datuk Seri Amrin Awaluddin said TH will give full cooperation to the commission in accordance with the law.

Amrin said it is important to safeguard TH’s governance, integrity and reputation as a financial savings institution, especially for Muslims.

He added that it is also important to ensure the confidence and interests of the people, especially the depositors.

The RCI is aimed to deliberate on issues raised from audits carried out by consultants such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Roland Berger from 2014 to 2020.

According to Ismail Sabri, setting up the RCI is appropriate so that further investigations can be made on matters raised and appropriate recommendations can be submitted to the government to restore the image and confidence of the people inTH.