Tabung Haji Buys 1MDB Land

I look at the above issue from a layman’s point of view. A slightly different layman that is. When I saw the headlines that discussed this issue I asked myself, “What the heck? Tabung Haji has lots of investments and has invested in many things other than the 1MDB land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).  How the 1MDB acquired the land, at what price whatsoever to me should be left aside as that is not the crux of the matter.  The question now is of Tabung Haji’s decision to acquire the land.

Firstly it was reported that Tabung Haji, or TH, had acquired two pieces of land at the TRX for a hefty sum of RM772 million.  Initially, the Chairman of TH, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim denied such a deal was made.  A day later the CEO of TH, Johan Abdullah, admitted that only one parcel was purchased at RM188.5 million, not two as reported.  So, TH has bought another piece of land which I assume was done through one of its subsidiaries.  It doesn’t really matter to me if it wasn’t.  Under Section 4(1) of the Tabung Haji Act, 1995 the Board of Directors of TH has the authority to manage the funds including to come out with policies regarding the managing of funds and pilgrims affairs. The question that should be asked here is if the decision to acquire that parcel of land was the correct decision?

TH, I believe like other corporations would, has a set of process that needs to be satisfied before an investment is allowed to be made. There would have to have a department that looks at potential investments or purchases to be made.  They would have to put up a paper and work hand-in-hand with a risk management department that would identify and analyse the risks involve.  The paper would then have to be submitted to a valuation panel before being escalated to an investment panel, while the risk assessment would have to be forwarded to a risk management committee.  The investment panel, upon being satisfied with the investment valuation will then escalate the paper up to the board of directors who in turn will be advised by the risk assessment committee before a go-no go decision is made.  However, TH being a pilgrims fund board, might have to seek the approval of a minister under whose purview it comes under.

I am not in the business of defending anyone. TH’s Investments Panel consists of seven persons including a Chairman, and a representative of the Bank Negara or a professional from the finance sector. If it had gone through the processes and had satisfied all the requirements, then why not? Why are we making such big fuss about the purchase? Would we have batted an eyelid had it been purchased from Phuying Gersang Sdn Bhd?

If you believe there are irregularities in the acquisition process, go ahead and make a police report so the authorities could step in and investigate the matter. There is no point harping on issues that had due process done and help stir things up over nothing if you don’t have evidence of wrongdoings.

Perhaps you scream foul because Azeez screwed up in his denial, or because it was made by Azeez who is said to be closely linked to Rosmah.  But that does not prove anything wrong, does it?

It is a shame that the Opposition is trying to stir shit over something that to a layman like me is not a big issue. It is an even bigger shame that some BN supporters help the Opposition members to stir the same shit.

Like I said. I am not in the business of defending anyone. I just don’t like shit-stirrers.