by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by TMR FILE
LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) is assuring its 8.3 million depositors that its daily operations will remain unaffected despite the ongoing investigation into its management and operational issues.
In a statement yesterday, the fund said it will cooperate with the Prime Minister’s Department, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) as well as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for the sake of its depositors.
“TH would like to propose that the rights of the management and operation of haj to remain with us, and for the government to guarantee that all deposits under Section 24 of the Tabung Haji Act 1995 should remain for the benefit of depositors.
“We will continue to improve and strengthen our operations and administration to safeguard the interests of our depositors throughout the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s investigation,” it said.
Since its establishment in 1963, TH has grown from a total deposit of only RM46,000 to nearly RM82 billion to-date, which is the highest recorded since over 58 years ago.
“We also provide the best service to depositors where over 80% of financial transactions are done online.”
TH added that the government has proposed to improve the overall management and operations of TH, which will involve a new operations model and a review of the amendments to the Tabung Haji Act 1995.
“The proposed new model will be examined jointly by the Prime Minister’s Department, MoF, BNM and TH,” it said, adding that it will take into account the fund’s existing capacity including assets, liabilities and human resource expertise, among others.
Meanwhile, the Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Zulkifly Mohamad Al-Bakri also added on to the proposed enhancement of the fund’s management and operations model.
“The proposals are in line with the government’s aspirations to uphold TH’s values of integrity and good governance based on eight key principles outlined by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.”
He said considering that the fund has been trusted to safeguard money of over 8.3 million depositors, the operations must be carried out with honesty, trust and integrity.
“Excessive concentration of power on a certain individual or party could pave the way to an inefficiency of governance which will bring great ‘mafsadah’ (damage) to TH.
“Therefore, there is a need for a regulatory body such as BNM to ensure that TH stays on track.”
The minister said the joint review will ensure that the fund remains sustainable in managing the pilgrimage of Malaysian Muslims.
“Even so, I emphasise that my power as the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) on TH will continue to remain, in accordance with the provisions of Section 10 of the Tabung Haji Act 1995, especially in terms of operations and coordination of haj.
“I will also continue to be responsible for ensuring the rights of Muslims and prospective pilgrims are protected,” he said.
Zulkifly said the central bank’s regulation of the fund would not take away his and Muslims’ rights to TH.