Ex-Tabung Haji chairman accuses Mujahid of misleading public, says fund's assets exceed liabilities

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim has accused Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa of misleading the public by accusing the pilgrimage fund of illegally paying dividends (hibah) to its depositors.

According to Abdul Azeez, the recent revelation made by Dr Mujahid that Tabung Haji has a total deficit of RM4.1bil as of Dec 31, 2017, was inaccurate as it did not take into account a report by Ernst & Young (E&Y), which had valued the pilgrimage fund’s realisable asset value as exceeding its liabilities.

He said that the realisable asset value in E&Y’s report had taken into account the value of its subsidiary companies, associates, joint venture companies and real estate.

Citing E&Y’s report, Abdul Azeez said that in 2015, TH’s realisable asset value stood at RM64.7bil while its liabilities were RM63.3bil, giving it an excess asset of RM1.4bil.

For the 2016 financial year, Abdul Azeez said that TH’s realisable asset value was RM69.1bil while its liabilities were RM68.4bil, giving it an excess value of RM701mil.

In 2017, Abdul Azeez said that TH’s realisable asset value stood at RM74.7bil while its liabilities were RM74.4bil, giving it an RM373mil in excess assets.

“In this context, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) did not mention the E&Y report. This means that the report (by Dr Mujahid) on Monday is something that misleads the public. In fact, it raises public anxiety,” he said to reporters during a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday (Dec 11).

Abdul Azeez said TH’s audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which was distributed to lawmakers in Parliament on Monday (Dec 10), had included E&Y’s report that indicated TH’s surpluses in its assets in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“Since 2015, TH has valued its assets at a current market value and for the past three years, TH’s assets have exceeded its liabilities based on reports verified by external audit firms.

“Therefore, TH has paid its dividends in accordance to Section 22(3)(A) of the Tabung Haji Act 1995 and it has not broken any laws,” he said.

Aside from being audited by E&Y, Abdul Azeez said that TH’s finances were also scrutinised by the National Audit Department which had awarded the pilgrimage fund a certificate annually.

Abdul Azeez said that Dr Mujahid shouldn’t drag TH into politics, as he regarded the pilgrimage fund as an institution that is highly respected in Malaysia.

“Don’t bring TH into the political sphere. If you want to improve TH, please go ahead, do whatever it takes to ensure the name of TH remains respectable.

“If you want to play politics, look for other means. Don’t touch TH.”

Abdul Azeez said it is perplexing that Dr Mujahid and the new TH top management are constantly looking for faults in its previous management, as former accused the latter of making wild accusations.

“It is irresponsible for a minister to make a statement without conducting a detailed investigation beforehand.

“Don’t use the media to confuse and mislead Malaysians, especially to TH’s 9.3mil depositors. I’m not sure what’s the issue with the current TH management, but I hope that TH can be administered well and act objectively as well as competitively,” he added.

Abdul Azeez also said that he is ready to cooperate with the TH management and relevant authorities for investigations in order to uphold the reputation of TH.