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Azeez Keeps Mum On Tabung Haji Claims

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PETALING JAYA: Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim has remained mum on claims that the pilgrimage fund may not be able to pay its depositors dividends this year.

When contacted by The Star, Azeez said that he would first have to go to office to check on the authenticity of a letter allegedly sent to LTH by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz. He added that a statement may be issued on the matter.

At press time, LTH managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Ismee Ismail was unreachable for comment as he was attending a meeting.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom was also uncontactable.

On Tuesday morning, an online portal reported that LTH reserve levels are in the negative and that the pilgrim fund board will not be able to pay its 8.8 million depositors unless it liquidates its assets soon.

The claims were allegedly based on a letter dated Dec 23 sent by BNM governor Zeti to Azeez.

Zeti was also reported to have delivered a separate letter to Jamil Khir on the same day warning him of negative repercussions due to the fund’s dire financial state. She had also proposed that LTH formulate and present to BNM a comprehensive reserve policy by March 3.

According to the report, LTH only has 98 sen in assets for each ringgit in liability. The board is legally unable to announce yearly dividends if it has more liabilities than assets.

In a Facebook post on Monday, LTH advised depositors not to make speculations on the date of announcement of dividends as the fund had to first ensure that the preliminary auditing process was completed and given approval.

It added that dividends are usually announced between January to March.-The Star

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