The process of reselling the Lembaga Tabung Haji (Pilgrims Fund Board or TH) land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) in Kuala Lumpur is going but there is no final decision yet whether to cancel the resale plan.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom said TH’s decision to resell the land was made to avoid more controversies and baseless accusations against the agency, although the asset purchase was based on business considerations and was syariah-compliant.
“The purchase of the land was made carefully, as although 1MDB first made the offer for the land in May 2013, it was only bought in 2015.
“There are people who do’'t understand that if the land’s worth is assessed by an independent international body, the price would be very high but TH was actually given a better offer and at that time (2013), the land was not developed yet.
“However, due to the overwhelming negative opinions and perceptions over the land purchase, TH decided to resell the land to avoid more baseles accusations,” he said in his reply to a supplementary question from Senator Muhammad Olian Abdullah in the Dewan Negara in Kuala Lumpur today.
Muhammad Olian wanted to know whether the decision to sell back the 0.63ha TH land at TRX was final.
Jamil Khir said the protest gathering against TH in front of its building and the memorandums it received from non-governmental organisations showed public anger due to misperception over the land purchase.
He said Malaysians, particularly the Muslims, should instead be proud that the Muslim community could own a developed area in the golden triangle and which could be an icon in the future.
“Now 1MDB is developing the land which will have a high-speed train station, highway... there will be an iconic building like KLCC, in fact the infrastructure will be more awesome, and it’s just not on paper.”
Jamil Khir said the interest of its depositors was a priority for TH that every investment planned and implemented by it was safe and viable to benefit the depositors.
He said the depositors should have trust in the capabilities of TH as an outstanding and iconic Islamic institution.
Tabung Haji has been strongly criticised for purchasing the land at TRX for RM188.5 million from 1MDB, the government’s investment company.
Following this, TH had on May 9, decided to sell the land on the advice of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in respecting the sensitivities of TH depositors.
However, at the recent Dewan Rakyat sitting, some lawmakers including non-Muslims who touched on the TH land issue, opined that TH should reconsider its plan to resell the land as they believed it was a good investment.