Friday, July 12

Gov to return RM20b of Tabung Haji assets

According to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the government will restore to the pilgrim fund Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) assets worth RM19.9 billion that were deposited in a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB).

The decision, according to Anwar, who is also the finance minister, was taken because MOF is now happy with TH’s management, governance, and continued financial performance, particularly after it overcame earlier roadblocks.

He further stated that the restoration of TH’s assets disproves certain parties’ assertion that TH’s assets held under the SPV had already been transferred to non-Muslim ownership, which is completely false.

“After careful consideration, I have stated from the beginning, since assuming this position, that once TH is managed well and is secure, MOF will initiate discussions to return the assets currently held by the SPV to TH.

“This is also to put an end to the slander against the finance minister at the time, claiming that he had already transferred these assets to non-Muslims,” said Anwar at TH’s 60th anniversary celebration.

In an effort to revitalise the pilgrim fund, MOF acquired underperforming real estate and stocks worth RM19.9 billion in December 2018 through its SPV in exchange for RM10 billion in sukuk (fixed income) and RM9.9 billion in Islamic redeemable convertible preference shares (RCPS-i).

80 percent of the assets purchased were stocks, while the remaining twenty percent were real estate.

The SPV purchased assets with yields of less than two percent and securities with over 20 percent equity impairment.

Datuk Seri Zukri Samat, then-group managing director and chief executive officer of TH, stated that there would be no cash transactions or government guarantees in the exercise because the SPV would issue a seven-year non-tradable sukuk, which would be fully subscribed by TH and the RCPS-i, with no maturity or dividend.

According to Bloomberg statistics, UJSB now owns shares in around 54 firms that are listed on Bursa Malaysia. It has sizable investments in eight of these businesses.

The associate business of TH, TH Heavy Engineering Bhd (THHE), which was delisted in September of last year after failing to obtain an eighth extension to submit a regularisation plan to Bursa Malaysia, had 66.45 percent of its shares owned by the SPV.

Additionally, UJSB owns a 25.85 percent ownership in Pelikan International Corp Bhd, which recently suggested to Holdham SAS to sell its interest in the Holdham SAS for €136 million (RM695.44 million) in cash. Pelikan Group GmbH is a German manufacturer and distributor of stationery.

It also owns a 10.23 percent stake in independent power producer (IPP) Malakoff Corp Bhd, an 8.76 percent stake in ICT solutions firm Datasonic Group Bhd, as well as oil and gas services group Petra Energy Bhd (8.71 percent), piling company Pintaras Jaya Bhd (6.84 percent), infrastructure and asset management firm UEM Edgenta Bhd (5.81 percent), structural engineering group Eversendai Corp Bhd (5.16 percent) and construction outfit IJM Corp Bhd (5.05 percent).

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