(May 11): Lembaga Tabung Haji depositors need not worry about the pilgrim fund’s land deal with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), as their deposits are guaranteed by the government, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
He said contributors had no reason to withdraw their savings from Tabung Haji, a savings fund for Muslims who want to perform their haj in Mecca.
“I would like to say on behalf of the government, depositors do not have to worry because all deposits in Tabung Haji are guaranteed by the government,” Najib told a press conference after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting at the party’s headquarters.
“So the issue doesn’t arise if any quarters want to instigate them into withdrawing their deposits from Tabung Haji.”
Meanwhile, Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim told reporters the Supreme Council accepted his explanation on its decision to buy land from 1MDB for RM188.5 million.
“During the Supreme Council meeting, I explained everything and they accepted it and gave constructive views to me,” he said.
“And I urge for the people outside there not to be fooled by lies and political ploys. I have never involved politics in Tabung Haji. I am the chairman for all, not for certain segments of society.”
Tabung Haji's purchase of the plot of land from 1MDB for RM188.5 million, or RM2,774 per sq ft, for the purpose of building a residential tower has created uproar among its depositors, some of whom withdrew their savings at its branch in Shah Alam on Thursday.
Opposition politicians were quick to note that Tabung Haji was paying far more per square feet (psf) than what 1MDB had paid at RM64 psf when it first bought the land from the government, leading some to call the deal a "bailout" given 1MDB's massive debts.
On Saturday, the fund announced it was selling the land it purchased from 1MDB, following public outcry over the transaction. – The Malaysian Insider