PAS wants royal probe on alleged Tabung Haji fraud

(MMO) – A royal commission of inquiry (RCI) should be convened to fully investigate the allegation that Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) was unlawfully paying out dividends while in deficit, said Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

The PAS president insisted that such a venue was needed to lend credence to what he described as bald allegations from a new minister, a jab at Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

“PAS views seriously the allegations within the country’s largest Islamic financial institution, but the party thinks it unwise for an unseasoned minister to attempt a trial by media, lest this leads to contradicting views and confusing information,” he said in a statement today.

Hadi said the matter should come under the purview of the Conference of Malay Rulers, either via Parliament or his suggested RCI, so that they may evaluate the recommendations of the appointed independent auditor before these are decided by the government.

In another swipe at the government, Hadi said this was to prevent the issue from suffering the vacillations of the Pakatan Harapan administration.

He also told the government not to use the issue as political fodder, saying this would damage the fund’s image.

Mujahid, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, told Parliament this week that LTH has been paying out dividends illegally since 2014 as it was in deficit.

He said PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted an audit on LTH’s 2017 accounts and discovered the pilgrims savings fund’s true financial standing was RM70.3 billion in assets against RM74.4 billion in liabilities, or a deficit of RM4.1 billion.

The Tabung Haji Act 1995 prohibits the payment of dividends, or hibah as they are called in Islamic financial terms, when in deficit or when there are no distributable profits.