4 Tabung Haji hotels to close after govt takeover

Tabung Haji hotels in Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Alor Setar and Kuala Terengganu are to close in April.

PETALING JAYA: Four hotels owned by the pilgrims board Tabung Haji are to be closed in April, according to a company circular posted by former prime minister Najib Razak.

“Is Tabung Haji going bankrupt?,” Najib said in his posting. “TH Hotels were forced to close after being moved to an MOF-linked company.” The hotels are in Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Alor Setar and Kuala Terengganu .

Najib posted images of a company circular signed by Zulkeffli Ahmad, group managing director of TH Hotel and Residence Sdn Bhd, which owns and operates the hotels.

The closure comes in the wake of the hotels being taken over by the Finance Ministry as part of a restructuring of the pilgrims board.

The hotels have been transferred to Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd, a company owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated.

In the circular, Zulkeffli added that a staff separation scheme would be carried out by the hotel management.

He also said the decision to cease operations was made following five town-hall sessions with THHR group management and the four hotel managements from Dec 6 to Dec 18.

FMT is seeking confirmation of the closure from Tabung Haji management.

Last November, Urusharta Jamaah said it had completed the transfer of Tabung Haji’s non-performing assets, amounting to RM9.63 billion in assets in exchange for two tranches of sukuk worth RM19.6 billion and RM300 million in cash.

These assets are a mixture of listed equity holdings, properties, and one unlisted plantation asset.

With the transfer of assets, UJSB said it would continue with its mandate to rehabilitate and restructure the assets, maximise asset recovery value and redeem all monetary instruments issued by UJSB and subscribed to by TH in a timely manner.

Do they want to sell the buildings, says Umno Youth

The imminent closure of the hotels was questioned by Umno Youth leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who asked for an explanation from the minister responsible for Tabung Haji or the finance minister.

Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

Asyraf said the finance ministry should explain if the buildings were meant to be sold.

He said the four hotels had been popular with visitors and had received high ratings on travel web site. “The closure could not be from any losses they made but because of the transfer of ownership,” he said in a statement this evening.

“In the hotel industry, it’s not unusual for a hotel management company to be different from the hotel owner. Therefore, the transfer of the hotel to another company should not be the reason why the hotel had to be closed.

“Unless the company owned by the Ministry of Finance has plans to sell the buildings to others, it may start operations of their own hotel. Hope the Haj Minister or Minister of Finance can explain,” said Asyraf.