Congrats UMNO & PAS – How Najib Regime Transformed Tabung Haji Into A Ponzi “Get-Rich-Quick” Scheme
Get your popcorn and Coke ready. The party has just begun. If you believe the police’s final estimate of the recent anti-ICERD turnout at 55,000, then there were only 55,000 gullible Malays who believed UMNO and PAS leaders. But if you believe Zahid Hamidi’s claim of 500,000 rally-goers, then there were half a million of ignorant Malays who trusted UMNO and PAS as their defenders.
In reality, of course, there were 4-million UMNO Malays and 2-million PAS Malays who could not think straight and objectively what is right and what is wrong. By virtue that the ethnic Malays are also Muslims, it’s also logical to say 6-million Malay-Muslims have been conned, or willingly scammed, by their leaders – (former) UMNO President Najib Razak and PAS President Hadi Awang.
One Malay institution after another – slowly but surely – emerges of being robbed, plundered or scammed by the same Malay leaders supposedly to protect them. The Malays’ ignorance and stupidity were so glaringly visible that even PM Mahathir’s granddaughter, Melia Serena Mukhriz, had no choice but took to Instagram to express her disgust over Malay and Muslim protestors at the anti-ICERD rally.
After the mismanagement and plundering at MARA and Felda, the latest scandal that should have shocked the Malay Muslims, but didn’t for weird reasons, is none other than the Tabung Haji (pilgrims fund) scandal. Like the 1MDB scandal, perhaps the Tabung Haji scandal is too complicated to the Malays and Muslims, so much so they have no freaking idea what was going on.
In what appears to be the tip of the iceberg, the pilgrims fund was revealed to have been engaged in get-rich-quick scheme. Make no mistake about it. There could be more of similar jaw-dropping scandal involving EPF, PNB, LTAT, KWAP and whatnot. Tabung Haji is in financial trouble after the new government exposed it gave returns for deposits as high as 8.25%.
Apparently, Tabung Haji’s “hibah (dividends)” distribution from 2013 to 2017 ranged from 6.25% up to 8.25% – a period where Najib Razak was the prime minister of the country. Comparatively, fixed deposit rates are at about 3%. The too-good-to-be-true dividends attracted an annual deposit growth at the rate of 10.6% between 2011 and 2017.
The unbelievable dividend returns from Tabung Haji, supposedly set up to help Muslims fulfil their hajj, were so attractive that a single depositor had invested more than RM190 million in the fund. That depositor would have made a cool RM15.675 million for doing nothing in the year it yielded 8.35% of dividend. Of course, it was nothing but an unsustainable Ponzi Scheme.
That’s because the Tabung Haji’s Recovery and Restructuring Working Plan revealed the stunning high concentration of depositors to a small segment where 1.3%, or a mere 117,000 of them (depositors), contributed to 50% of its deposits. What this means is if the small number of powerful and rich depositors pull out, the scheme would definitely collapse.
Overstated profits, under-stated value of assets, an unbalanced profile of depositors and questionable transactions were all uncovered in the review of the financial position of Lembaga Tabung Haji (board of pilgrim’s fund). A report prepared by government-appointed accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to review the financial position for 2017 has unveiled more juicy stories.
Tabung Haji was actually sitting on up to RM10.2 billion in losses of its domestic and international equities as of October this year and its liabilities outstripped assets by RM9 billion. A report says – “The gap between the assets and liabilities is RM9 billion. If the RM9 billion hole is not covered, no hibah (dividends) distribution is possible not just for 2018 but also in the coming years.”
In fact, the pilgrim’s fund had been illegally distributing “hibah“ to depositors since 2014, contravening the Tabung Haji Act 1995 where the fund is not allowed to declare dividends if its liabilities are more than assets.
Ahead of the 14th general election on May 9th this year, the pilgrim’s fund cooked its books to justify paying a 6.25% dividend, amounting to RM2.7 billion.
Yes, in what appears to be an insult to the good name of Islam, the previous government led by UMNO Malay nationalist party and heavily supported by the PAS Islamist party had cooked the Tabung Haji accounting books by selling its shares in Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad to show a profit and then repurchasing the same shares – a breach of listing of stock exchange and cheating at the highest order.
An independent report entitled “Financial Position Review of TH” by PwC showed that the troubled pilgrims fund made a gain of RM553 million from the disposal of the Bank Islam shares in 2017 and subsequently bought back within four days after trade date at the same price sold through 4 brokers – UOB, Kenanga, TA Securities and Affin.
But since the so-called RM553 million gains were “fake”, former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, also a Member of Parliament of UMNO, had conspired with the board of directors to dip their hands into depositors’ savings to pay the dividends. This created an illusion that the fund was paying an incredible high return when in fact it came from depositors’ hard-earned money.
The scam would have continued had the old regime won the May 9th general election. The assumption of such Ponzi scheme is such that not every depositor would withdraw their money in Tabung Haji. The get-rich-quick scheme would be discovered and the bubble would burst eventually due to insufficient fund – liabilities outstripped assets by RM9 billion.
Fortunately to Tabung Haji depositors, but unfortunately for taxpayers, the fund is guaranteed by the government. Thanks to the crooks and thieves of UMNO, the taxpayers’ money will be used to bailout the pilgrim’s fund. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been set up to take over assets worth close to RM20 billion from Tabung Haji to nurse it back to its value.
But it also means Bank Negara will provide a temporary short-term borrowing of RM10 billion to improve the liquidity position of Tabung Haji. For the financial year 2017 alone, the pilgrims fund’s liabilities have outstripped the assets to the tune of RM4.1 billion. And UMNO has the cheek to demand the new government to stop making alarming statements on the wrongdoings in the fund – to avoid panic and “paralyse” the institution.
Amazingly, instead of condemning the rape at the institution, PAS Islamist party, a supposedly “Islam defender”, has instead chosen to continue mislead and scam gullible and ignorant Malays that the new government could be “playing with figures”. The burning question is – who were the directors and managers at Tabung Haji? Was there a single ethnic Chinese or Indian?
Mahathir Mohamad has once again proven his theory – that the Malays are not only lazy but untrustworthy. Yes, not only they are too lazy to analyse and think objectively the real scumbags and thieves who stole and scammed money from Malay institutions, they also willingly listen to the same untrustworthy Malay crooks that divert attention by putting Muslims and non-Muslims at loggerheads.