cakap cakap : Sheriff on Pak Ungku & Tabung Haji.
Yes Pak Ungku, pet name for Prof Ungku Aziz, was the brain behind setting up Tabung Haji as a pilgrimage savings fund for Muslims. Based on the same concept as the Employees Provident Fund which was founded in 1948(?) for employees in the private sector to save for their retirement.
Both the EPF and TH invest their funds in the financial markets (equities and bonds) to earn the dividend incomes so that they can pay dividends to their depositors . They also invest in direct investments in commercial companies.
TH however made some bad investments. It owns subsidiary companies that fail to perform. Nevertheless, it continued to pay good dividends to TH depositors despite the losing investments, by digging into the reserves . Not one year but over some years. BNM began to feel uneasy about this dividend policy of TH. This prompted TS Zeti, Pak Ungku’s daughter, when she was governor BNM, to send a letter warning TH that such dividend payments were untenable.
Although BNM has no direct control over TH under the Financial Services Act, it has the over arching responsibility to protect the financial and banking system from being affected by non banking institutions acting in a manner not conducive to the stability of the system. Unfortunately, TH did not act on BNM’s advice. Finally, TH had to be rescued as its non-performing assets were becoming too corrosive for comfort .. This was done during the PH goverment — the MoF under Lim Guan Eng set up the SPV called Urusharta Jemaah to do the rescue operation by taking over its non-performing assets. This SPV like other SPVs was set up as an MoF Inc company. But some Malay politicians quickly seized on the political opportunity to label the MoF Inc SPV as a DAP conspiracy to seize TH assets and destroy TH, an institution dear to the hearts of all Malays and an Islamic institution that’s a model to the Muslim world
I wrote an article defending the rationale behind the SPV because being a Treasury man, I could understand the SPV. But the Malay sentiment against LGE was too strong. Even today, some Malays point to the TH to prove their point that the DAP is anti-Malay. It’s that kind of nonsense that’s not fair to LGE and DAP. LGE acted in good faith on the advice of BNM, Ungku Aziz’s daughter — TS Zeti, one of the best central bankers in the Commonwealth.
Altho Prof Ungku Aziz habitually spoke English like his first language and spoke Malay with an English accent, he developed a love for Malay history, language, and culture. He wrote poems in Malay.
When we were first-year economics students we had to do a field survey of padi farmers in the Sekincang area. Many of the farmers were Javanese. Their young maidens looked at us from their windows with sarong up to the chest. Later we also in the second year term break, we did a survey in a Felda scheme in Kedah, Sungai Tiang. So Ungku Aziz exposed us to the rural economy in our economics class. He increased the enrolments into the Econs Dept by 3 or 4 times bcos he felt the civil service shd hv more economists. At that time, the EPU was just started (1960). He knew the EPu, Treasury, BNM and MITI would require more economics graduates. He was a visionary who could see that the newly independent Malaya needed to develop its economy fast to catch up for lost time.
A great man who served his country thru education. The UM was fortunate that he rose to become its VC.
May Allah’s Blessings Be Upon Him