Tabung Haji chairman denies reserves in the red

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 26): Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim today denied that the pilgrims’ fund's reserves were in the negative, an hour after a deputy minister said Bank Negara Malaysia's letters on the matter were taken out of context.

Refusing to elaborate on the issue, Azeez said Tabung Haji would be holding a press conference soon.

"We are giving our press conference. Tabung Haji is making a press conference," he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby.

When asked to confirm whether Tabung Haji's reserves were in the red, Azeez said: "No. It's not true."

Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs, said Malaysians were taking out of context the Bank Negara letters warning Tabung Haji's reserves were in the negative.

He said the letter was being used to trigger accusations that Tabung Haji was suffering from losses and would be unable to pay out dividends to its nearly 9 million contributors.

Asyraf did not deny this but urged Malaysians to evaluate the information carefully and remember that the letters did not provide the full picture of the fund's financial situation.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that Bank Negara warned in a December 23 letter to Tabung Haji that it has only 98 sen in assets for each ringgit in liability.

Section 22 of the Tabung Haji Act states it cannot announce dividends and bonuses to its contributors if its assets are worth less than its obligations.