Opposition MPs go after Lim over Tabung Haji issue

Looi Sue-Chern

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng found himself at the target of opposition MPs' attack over Lembaga Tabung Haji in the Dewan Rakyat today. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 3, 2019.

THE Dewan Rakyat this afternoon saw fiery exchanges between several annoyed MPs, including Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, whose winding-up speech was interrupted several times by the opposition.

The ruckus began after Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Pasir Salak-BN) asked Lim to answer questions related to the Pilgrims’ Fund Board, or Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH).

Questions related to Islamic affairs are generally answered by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who is in charge of the Islamic portfolio, not a non-Muslim cabinet member.

But Tajuddin wanted Lim to explain why there had been no announcement on Tabung Haji after it had transferred more than RM19 billion worth of assets to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the ministry.

“The government owes TH RM19 billion. Where’s the money for this? Otherwise, people will think the Finance Ministry has robbed TH,” Tajuddin said.

It was reported that TH had transferred underperforming assets worth RM19.9 billion to the SPV, which would then rehabilitate all the assets through warehousing and restructuring strategies.

Mujahid recently told the Dewan Rakyat that the assets had not been liquidated.

Lim said the supplementary budget he had earlier tabled did not even mention TH, adding that Mujahid would provide further details on the matter.

“I regret that you (Tajuddin) said the Finance Ministry wants to rob (rompak) TH,” he said, prompting Tajuddin to point out that the SPV was under the ministry.

“‘Rompak’ is not the truth. I don’t want to address this matter, as it is under Mujahid’s portfolio. You are creating ‘prasangka jahat’ (malicious prejudice),” Lim said.

Tajuddin shot back at Lim, saying the minister was thinking badly of others (buruk sangka).

Lim then said he was “an easy target”, and urged the BN man not to play up sentiments or hurl malicious slander.

Lim’s party, DAP, is often accused of being anti-Islam and anti-Malay by its political rivals, namely Umno and PAS.

As Tajuddin continued to insist that the ministry paid TH the RM19 billion, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Baling-BN), who is also former TH board chairman, stood up to join the exchange.

However, Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming told the opposition MPs to drop the matter, as Lim had said Mujahid would explain the matter further.

While the opposition MPs argued about not being given the chance to speak further on the matter, Lim allowed Johari Abdul (Sg Petani-PH) to speak.

The PKR man said “to cool things down”, he wanted Lim to clarify whether TH lost RM4 billion in 2017. Azeez was still TH chairman at the time.

Lim said he believed that was what Mujahid had been told, while continuing to refuse to let Azeez speak.

“Give me chance to talk. I know about Tabung Haji affairs!” Azeez shouted from across the House.

But Lim continued, saying: “We regret that while we are not even involved in the institution (TH), we are being blamed. 

“I think that is unfair. I hope we will allow Mujahid to shed light on the issue,” he said as Azeez shouted that Lim was “afraid to answer”.

Nga then told Azeez off for not being in the House when Mujahid had spoken about TH earlier, and ordered him to sit down, not to make baseless accusations and cause a ruckus.

“You want to be a hero but you will be a zero.”

He called the House to order and told Lim to finish his winding-up speech. 

Azeez and Tajuddin, however, persisted and tried to interject as Lim read out his speech.

At one point, someone is heard shouting, “the minister is a bloody fool” as Tajuddin picked a bone with Lim again over figures on approved and realised manufacturing investments. – April 3, 2019.

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  • This Tajuddin guy is senile.

    Posted 5 years ago by Luke Skywalker · Reply

  • This Tajuddin guy is senile.

    Posted 5 years ago by Luke Skywalker · Reply

  • Racists...just targeting LGE.

    Posted 5 years ago by Lipdah Lia · Reply