KUALA LUMPUR: Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has successfully restored its balance sheet after a restructuring plan which saw its underperfoming assets transferred to a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and expects to announce dividends soon, the Dewan Rakyat was told.
Minister in the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Rawa defended the setting up of the SPV, saying that it was the best option to protect depositors, which saw TH recording assets worth RM76.5bil against liabilities and deposits of RM75.5bil last year.
"We looked at a few options – first, if the government could become a guarantor, but we wanted to avoid that.
"Secondly, we (the government) could have given a grant but we also do not want that as it could affect the financial position of the government.
"After looking at the at the options and all the risks, we took the best option of carving out the under-performing assets to protect the welfare of the depositors.
"After the restructuring and turnaround plan, as of December 2018, we managed to record assets worth RM76.5bil compared to RM75.5bil worth of liabilities and deposits, which means we managed to close the gap created by leaders under the previous administration and will announce the dividend soon," he told Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif (BN-Jempol) during Question Time.
Mohd Salim had asked the government to explain why TH was not given a chance to find another mechanism to address its assets problem without using an SPV.
Mujahid said the total amount of assets transferred to the SPV, Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd, under the Finance Ministry included 29 pieces of real estate, one non-public listed company and 106 security domestic assets.
"We needed to transfer the assets to close the gap between assets and liability experienced by TH.
"This is to allow us to make the necessary dividend under the Tabung Haji Act 1995," he said.
He said when the Pakatan Harapan government took over, it wanted to ensure that depositor's rights were well protected.
"We must also look at the initial intention of Tabung Haji, which is to allow Muslims to go perform their pilgrimage.
"With an uncontrolled dividend payment and an unfair and inaccurate financial balance, it will affect depositors eventually," he said.
The pilgrimage savings fund has been rocked by revelations following the release of a damning report by Mujahid in Parliament, who highlighted illegal dividend distributions since 2014, assets shrinkage of RM4.1bil and claims of accounting irregularities to mask a higher profit.
TH reported liabilities of RM74.4bil against total assets of RM70.3bil, resulting in a total deficit of RM4.1bil as at Dec 31, 2017.