What is really amiss in Tabung Haji deal?

Harakahdaily | .

That is the question that is being raised by the rakyat now following reports and counter reports that there has been and there has not been any misdemeanour in the transaction of a piece of land (or was it two?) formerly owned by 1MDB and now in Tabung Haji’s hands.

We are referring to reports that a piece of land owned by 1MDB had been bought for cash at RM 188.5 million at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project by Tabung Haji (TH). Only a day earlier, an Umno Youth leader and TH chairman had denied any such deal had taken place.

The whole issue has come to the fore because of a blog posting claiming that TH had paid RM 772 million in cash to buy two plots of land in TRX. TH however says it only bought one plot.

The problem here is the issue of transparency. TH is an institution central to the religious needs of Muslims in the country. Whatever it does in terms of utilizing its funds for investment or just mere expenditure will be questioned by all contributors to the Fund. It must be remembered that many Muslims savings in TH are only for one prime goal – that of performing the fifth pillar of Islam, the haj. Hence when money in large amounts are used to buy what is deemed as questionable property especially when the proposed development of the land is to build serviced apartments in an area already in a glut situation, many questions start to arise.

Obviously, one would have taken extra caution when dealing with anything 1MDB, especially considering the controversy revolving around the loss of huge sums of money that have yet to be accounted for and for which former premier, Tun Mahathir, is pressing for answers from current premier Najib. People are asking how such a speedy decision could have been taken especially knowing that the PAC and other parties are currently investigating the 1MDB fiasco. Does it not now look more like a bailout for the investment arm that in most peoples’ eyes has become a failure and burden to the government?

And interestingly, TH chairman whose main job is political in nature simply tells that it is not true in the first instance but later denies that that was what he meant. Politicians should never chair institutions of this nature.

No wonder social media users have gone on a lambasting session against Umno with one user saying – “Tabung Haji pun kena rompak sekarang – Hidup Melayu Umno” (Even TH is now being robbed, Long Live Umno Malays).

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