PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today defended the transfer of four Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) hotels to ministry of finance subsidiary Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJSB), saying some TH properties are not useful.
“Some of the properties are not useful, (they) cannot give returns,” he told reporters after officiating a National Anti-Drug Month event.
He added that the subsidiary should think of other ways to invest the money for more returns.
Yesterday, it was reported that according to a company circular posted by former prime minister Najib Razak, four hotels owned by the pilgrims management board would be closed in April.
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.
TH, in a statement this morning, said the move to place the hotels under UJSB was part of the government’s restructuring plan for the struggling pilgrims fund.
It said the action was taken to fulfil a mandate to reduce government commitment.
Meanwhile, Mahathir said the government would review existing punishments for drug-related crimes, which he noted were quite harsh.
Presently, drug trafficking and abuse are punished with the mandatory death penalty.
“Many feel that this is ineffective… We will study whether this is correct or not. And if we find that there are other ways in the law that can prevent abuse of drugs or trafficking, we will amend the law.”
He added, however, that drug users were not considered criminals.
Despite that, Mahathir said, it was important for people to understand that drug abuse was harmful to individuals, the society and the country.