Concerns raised by former Tabung Haji chairman Hanafiah have yet to be addressed. (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: The concerns of former Tabung Haji chairman Tan Sri Hanafiah Ahmad regarding the organisation’s investment portfolio should be taken seriously, says a blogger.
Referring to concerns raised by Hanafiah in 2010, the blogger who calls himself A Voice wrote in his blog Another Brick in the Wall today that Hanafiah’s points of concern were never properly addressed.
“Back in 2010, the concern was Tabung Haji invested 40% of its RM25 billion fund in equity, unlike EPF which was less than 20% of it's RM300 billion fund,” the blogger wrote, adding “In 2009, despite the market surge, Tabung Haji only declared 5% dividend vis-a-vis EPF's 5.65%.”
“Information …from Tabung Haji (invesment monitoring unit) reveals then that Tabung Haji made major losses in equity investment,” he added.
“What happened to investment made in Petra Perdana, Ramunia, Silver Bird, Lityan and the 83,000 hectare plantation in Riau, Indonesia?” the blogger asked.
“Why was Tabung Haji getting themselves in desperate cases of bailouts like in the case of Ramunia, Silver Bird and Lityan?”
A Voice added that while he had defended Tabung Haji in the past “against politicians making mountains out of molehills”, he shared Hanafiah’s concern and said, “Perhaps, serious reflection needs to be made on the competence and integrity of management and various committees of Tabung Haji.”
Among the issues raised by Hanafiah and echoed by the blogger were the sale of most of Tabung Haji’s stake in a Riau plantation and plans to invest in properties in the United Kingdom, for which the blogger said “the rationale given was unconvincing”.
The blogger questioned the decisions and actions of Tabung Haji’s CEO, Datuk Ismee Ismail, as well as his background and business links, and said there were many rumours about him that persist.
“The story of leakages in Tabung Haji's Investment Department is an open secret in the market,” the blogger wrote. “It has been going on in perpetuity, as far as many in the market can remember.”
“There is a high level of distrust in Tabung Haji's investment decisions,” he added. “That is reflected in the uproar over the intention to list TH Plantation in 2005. It raised lots of suspicion.”
The blogger also raised questions claims of about surplus assets in Tabung Haji.
“To whom do these surplus assets go to?” he asked. “Who is supposed to own them? Is it the depositors? Is that why there are many dishonest operators within Tabung Haji making ‘ownership claims’ on these surplus assets?”
“May God save us all,” he added, “if trust companies like Tabung Haji --which is intended to perform ibadah -- are being corrupted by unscrupulous professionals.”