Tabung Haji depositors spooked by 1MDB controversy, CEO admits

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) CEO Tan Sri Ismee Ismail has acknowledged that depositors withdrew money from the Muslim pilgrimage fund because of a lack of confidence after its controversial land purchase from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Ismee told local Malay daily Berita Harian that the average amount deposited in the fund for this month has dropped to RM40 million, compared to the RM71 million monthly average from January to April this year.

“There are also some who took out their savings, saying that they were disappointed or didn’t have confidence,” Ismee said in the interview published today.

“We monitor, we’re honest and we don’t want to say that nobody took their deposits out when this issue came out into the open. To me, it’s the depositors’ right. TH savings are voluntary, but for me, people don’t need to worry because they’re guaranteed by the government,” he added.

LTH sparked controversy recently when it bought a 1.56-acre plot of land in the Tun Razak Exchange from debt-laden 1MDB for RM188.5 million, 43 times higher than what the state investment fund had purchased it for from the government.

Critics have described the deal as a bailout for 1MDB, which has reportedly accumulated some RM42 billion in debt.

LTH chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, however, reportedly said on May 9 that the land will be sold in a week, claiming that the pilgrimage fund has received three offers and that the sale will generate a profit of at least RM5 million. LTH has yet to reveal if the land has been sold.

Tabung Haji depositors spooked by 1MDB controversy, CEO admits
May 20, 2015 – MMO


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