Malaysian pilgrim fund gives lowest dividend in history after 'mismanagement'

Lembaga Tabung Haji will give a dividend of 1.25 per cent to its depositors for the 2018 financial year. PHOTO: UTUSAN MALAYSIA

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's pilgrim fund Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) will give a hibah (dividend) of 1.25 per cent to its depositors for the 2018 financial year, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa on Friday (April 5).

He said this amounted to a total payout of RM913 million (S$303 million) for TH's 9.3 million depositors.

This is the lowest hibah given to depositors in the history of the fund, which was established in 1969 to help Malaysian Muslims finance their haj pilgrimage to Mecca.

In 2017, depositors were given a hibah of 4.5 per cent, while those who had not performed the haj received an additional 1.75 per cent bonus.

"The Pakatan Harapan government inherited TH from the previous government in a sad state," said Datuk seri Mujahid at a press conference at the Putrajaya Islamic Complex on Friday.

He said TH suffered from "poor governance and mismanagement" under the previous Barisan Nasional government, prompting the need for financial restructuring, which was completed in December last year.

Dr Mujahid said that the previous administration had paid hibah to TH's depositors without conforming to the TH Act 1995.

"Manipulation of accounts was done to distribute high hibah despite the growing deficit (between assets and liabilities)," he added.

He said TH now had a total asset surplus of RM1 billion for the 2018 financial year after the financial restructuring exercise.

This, he said, was in contrast to 2017, when TH reported a total asset deficit of RM4.1 billion.

"The successful completion of the restructuring plan reflects the government's determination to rescue TH, thus protecting the interest of its depositors," he said.

He added that the government will allocate RM500 million in 2020 for TH and RM1.73 billion per year after that until all of its sukuk (shariah-compliant bonds) were redeemed.

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