KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26, 2016:

Tabung Haji today gave assurance to its depositors that their savings were “safe” and that the fund was just a target of speculation.

Its CEO and group managing director, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, said Tabung Haji’s financial achievements were in “good condition”, supported well by its strong assets and high percentage of liquidity.

He added that depositors also need not worry as their savings were guaranteed by the government, urging them to “be careful” in judging news spread via social media.

“TH has become the target of various speculation on social media and blogs since the past few days on the depositors’ 2015 bonus and misinterpretation of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)’s letter.

“TH wants to give the assurance that there is no delay in bonus announcement to depositors. Before an announcement is made, TH needs to take into account the current economy, ensure all early audits have been conducted and internal approval is obtained as part of good management processes.

“Although 2015 has been challenging, TH believes that its strategic asset allocation will help in better returns for 2015,” he said in a statement today.

It was recently reported that the pilgrims’ fund’s reserve levels were in the negative, not enabling them to pay its depositors any dividends this year.

The Malaysian Insider reported that according to a letter sighted, which was issued by BNM governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz to Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, it only had 98 sen in assets for each ringgit in liability and that it might need to liquidate assets to fulfil obligations to depositors.

“As an Islamic financial institution, TH always cooperates with all quarters to ensure steps and risk needs were abided with. TH takes notice of BNM’s suggestion to increase its level of reserves as a continuous step of upgrading and strengthening.

“Just to inform depositors, TH assets are divided into two categories, assets at market rate and assets stated at cost value,” Ismee explained.

With regards to the first, financial assets can be sold such as listed equities, sukuk and land investment, with reserve value exposed to fluctuating market prices.

The second category was financial assets held until maturity, with assets periodically valued for monitoring purposes.

“For the 2015 financial year, market value for TH assets in the two categories were higher than liabilities, whereby it not only took into account equal reserve value stated by Bank Negara Malaysia.

“Maybe the statement on TH reserves by BNM were misinterpreted as overall TH asset values.

“I want to urge so that depositors are more careful in judging any news spread through social media,” he said.

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