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Malaysia Haj Fund to be revamped after making big losses

18/8/2001 11:07 pm Sat

[Tabung Haji sudah jauh menyimpang dari tujuan asal penubuhannya. Ia nampaknya lebih banyak berniaga (atau sebenarnya BERJUDI?) dari menguruskan hal-ehwal haji. Sudah lama kita menulis mengenai pelaburan tabung haji (Rujuk siri YTDT oleh Pak MT) tetapi itu tidak diperduli. Kesannya - kos haji meningkat dan ini membebankan bakal jemaah haji dari kalangan orang Umno sendiri.

Bayangkan sampai sekarang tiada siapa pun dipertanggung-jawabkan kerana kerugiannya.
- Editor

thr 044

Malaysia-Haj /WRD/

Malaysia Haj Fund to be revamped after making big losses

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 16, IRNA -- A Malaysian pilgrims' fund is being restructured to prevent it from collapsing because of failed investments, said the Religious affairs minister on Thursday.

Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, declined to elaborate on the restructuring, but said that the fund, known as Tabung Haji, should not be allowed to fail.

He told newsmen here that the government did not want to see the fund go the way of local giant companies like Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd, United Engineers Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines, where it had to step in to save them from folding up.

He said it was important for the fund to manage the money deposited by Muslims intending to perform the pilgrimage.

"I do not want the fund to face the same fate as several local giant companies which forced the government to save them.

"If this happens, it will be a big slap to the image of the country and the Muslim community here," he said.

The minister admitted that some of the investments made by the fund had resulted in huge losses.

There were several critical weaknesses in the management of the fund.

The issue of its failed investments came to light when it could only give out dividends of 5.5 percent to its approximately four million contributors for the financial year 2000.

BN/AH End ::irna 15:54 Friday/NewsBreak/20010817153258


Umno Youth seeks meeting with Govt over pilgrimage price hike

By Azran Aziz

17 August 2001

Umno Youth is seeking a meeting with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin to get more information on the hike in the pilgrimage expenses next year imposed by Lembaga Tabung Haji.

Head of its community development bureau Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the movement still felt that the increase was too burdensome for villagers who formed the majority of Lembaga Tabung Haji contributors.

"We have gone to the ground and the feedback from the grassroot has shown that they are in the dark about the hike," he said.

Pilgrims will have to pay between 10 and 11.5 per cent more next year due to escalating costs. Those from the peninsular will have to pay RM9,445 while those from Sarawak and Sabah will have to pay RM9,530 and RM9,575 respectively.

The Cabinet, at its meeting on Wednesday, approved the quantum. Before this, all of them paid a standard rate of RM8,585.

Ismail Sabri, who is also Temerloh Umno deputy chief, said the increment of about RM800 might not be a burden to those with high income.

"But we should spare a thought for people like fishermen and rubber tappers,many of whom take between eight to 10 years to meet the pilgrimage expenses.

"We must bear in mind that for the Malays, they will normally go to the Holy Land with their spouses. This means that each couple will have to fork out RM1,600 extra.

"If they can only save RM100 a month, it will take them 16 months to come with the extra money needed," he said.

Ismail Sabri said if that was the case, there would be a number who would "miss the boat" next year.

"Now, the waiting list is very long and it can take up to five years before you get your turn. If you cannot make it when your turn comes, you may have to wait much longer," he said.

Ismail Sabri said the movement would support any move by Tabung Haji to set up a fund to assist the elderly and this should also be extended to the poor.

He said the movement would also support the move to restructure Tabung Haji.

"It started as a profit-making body. The reason for it to exist was to facilitate Muslims to perform their pilgrimage. But lately, they have ventured into business and we have been informed that it has incurred losses," he said.

The Government, he said, had assisted in many ways for Tabung Haji to get their financial means like the allocation of the Bumiputera portion of shares whenever there was a new listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

"Returns from these investments should instead be used to help villagers and the poor," he said.

Ismail Sabri said the movement was not accusing Tabung Haji of mismanagement but if there was such an element, the management should take action.

"Action should be taken against officers whose mistakes have caused Tabung Haji to incur losses. A situation where the poor people are made to suffer because of the officers' carelessness must be checked," he said.