A PAS lawmaker today claimed the government's disclosure that Lembaga Tabung Haji was facing a deficit of RM4.1 billion could be a "play on figures."
Therefore, said Kuala Nerus MP Khairuddin Aman Razali, Tabung Haji's finances must be reviewed by an independent auditor, despite a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report being tabled in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Prior to it being tabled, a copy of the report was placed on the table of every MP in the Dewan Rakyat.
Khairuddin claimed an independent auditor was necessary as Pakatan Harapan had on many occasions tried to confuse the people with figures.
"The valuation of Tabung Haji's assets being lower than the value of deposits could have been exposed to a play on figures.
"Tabung Haji is a major asset for Muslims. Do not use it as an excuse to cover up Harapan's ability in matching past dividends issued by Tabung Haji," Khairuddin (photo) said in a statement today.
According to PwC's financial review, Tabung Haji had cooked its books by selling its shares in Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad to show a profit, before repurchasing the same shares, as well as having its subsidiaries to over-declare dividends that were never paid.
The review said Tabung Haji had essentially paid dividends using depositors' funds.
According to the Tabung Haji Act 1995, the pilgrimage fund is not allowed to pay dividends if it is in deficit, but had been doing so since 2014, despite its liabilities exceeding its assets.
According to de facto Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Tabung Haji's assets stood at RM70.3 billion versus a liability of RM74.4 billion.
The government had said that it plans to have a special purpose vehicle to acquire Tabung Haji's non-performing subsidiaries and revive them.
However, Khairuddin claimed that this would "expose Muslim assets to outsiders."
"It should be postponed until an external audit confirms the minister's claim," he said.
Mujahid's statement was based on the independent audit of Tabung Haji by PwC.
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