Tabung Haji in 'early discussion' with govt to reclaim its assets

TheEdge Tue, Apr 02, 2024 01:08pm - 2 months View Original

KUALA LUMPUR (April 2): Lembaga Tabung Haji is currently in the “early discussion stage” with the government to reclaim its assets that the government acquired at a premium in 2018 through Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB).

However, Tabung Haji executive director group finance Mustakim Mohamad said he could not disclose which specific assets will be returned or when the process of returning those assets will begin.

“We will assess whether returning these assets will benefit Tabung Haji or not, and then decide which assets can be used or remain within UJSB,” he said during a press conference after the release of Tabung Haji’s 2023 financials.

UJSB, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established under the Ministry of Finance (MOF), took over the underperforming assets from the pilgrim fund in 2018. The assets were valued at approximately RM9.7 billion at the time.

Accordingly, UJSB paid RM19.6 billion, which was raised through two sukuk issued in 2019, along with an additional RM300 million in cash to Tabung Haji, as reported by the Auditor General’s Report.

Of the assets that were acquired, 80% were equities while the remaining 20% comprised properties. UJSB currently owns shares in about 54 companies listed on Bursa Malaysia. Of these, it holds substantial stakes in eight companies, including Pelikan International Corp Bhd, Malakoff Corp Bhd, and Datasonic Group Bhd.

Among the assets transferred to UJSB were four Tabung Haji hotels: TH Hotel Kota Kinabalu, TH Hotel Bayan Lepas, TH Hotel and Convention Centre Alor Setar, and TH Hotel and Convention Centre Kuala Terengganu, all of which have been renamed Raia Hotel.

In September last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that the government would initiate discussions to return the assets held by UJSB back to Tabung Haji as MOF was satisfied with Tabung Haji's management and governance, as well as its ongoing financial performance, especially after overcoming previous stumbling blocks.

The SPV has redeemed RM400 million of the RM19.6 billion sukuk it issued. Based on the outstanding sum of RM19.2 billion, the gap between the assets UJSB holds and the sukuk amounts to RM9.49 billion, as estimated through back-of-the-envelope calculations.

According to the Auditor General’s Report on the federal government financial statement for 2022, UJSB redeemed RM200 million worth of sukuk in January this year.

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