No Tabung Haji inquiry for fear of panic, says Mujahid

Former minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa (left) and former TH chairman Abdul Azeez Rahim took part in a forum this evening.

PETALING JAYA: Fear of panic among Tabung Haji depositors was among the reasons the Pakatan Harapan government did not set up a royal commission of inquiry into alleged misconduct and irregularities in the pilgrimage fund, a former minister said.

Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who was minister in charge of Islamic affairs, said a royal commission would have made depositors “flee in panic”.

“And we cannot have them panicking when implementing a recovery plan,” he said in a dialogue with former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Rahim this evening.

He said this in response to criticisms levelled at the past administration over its failure to fulfil its manifesto to set up a royal commission to probe irregularities at the fund.

Mujahid said PH had planned to table the 2019 Tabung Haji financial report in Parliament in March, but it was scuttled following the collapse of the administration in February.

“We can’t table it, but you can ask the current minister to do so. It has been audited and there is no reason it should not be tabled now,” he said, referring to his successor, Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri.

Abdul Azeez reiterated calls for a royal commission to be set up, adding he was prepared to give his full cooperation. He also accused Mujahid of making a u-turn about holding an inquiry.

“I previously asked him in Parliament and he said there was no need for an RCI and now he says to do it. I pray Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin sets up an RCI.”

The Baling MP said that if an inquiry had been set up as promised there would no longer be any finger pointing.

Abdul Azeez also denied that, when he was TH chairman in 2013, the controversial businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low had had a hand in Tabung Haji’s purchase of a 30% equity in Putrajaya Perdana Berhad which was linked to SRC International, then a subsidiary of scandal-ridden 1MDB.

He denied knowing Jho Low – who is at the centre of the 1MDB scandal – and said the equity purchase was made after negotiations between TH and Putrajaya Perdana Berhad.