Datuk Seri Zukri Samat
By Zairina Zainudin
KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 (Bernama) – The total deposits received by the Pilgrims Fund Board (TH) still show a positive figure as the confidence of the depositors remains intact even though the institution has declared a low dividend payment for 2018.
Its group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Zukri Samat said the prospects for TH was bright, with better corporate governance, no more underperforming assets, as well as government guarantee, which were among the factors that support the depositors’ confidence in continuing to invest in TH.
Apart from that, he said the monitoring by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) starting this year to improve the corporate governance of the organisation had also succeeded in driving the depositors to continue investing in TH while enabling it to attract new depositors.
“We want to enhance our governance and apply the best practices that have been proposed by Bank Negara especially in the area of risk management and governance.
“Everything is stable and (there’s) no abnormal withdrawals. The worst is over,” he told Bernama during his visit to the news agency’s headquarters recently.
For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2018 (FY18), TH recorded a high deficit (total liabilities exceeded total assets) of RM10.9 billion, up from RM4.1 billion registered as at Dec 31, 2017.
In efforts to restore a financial position that is more balanced, TH has implemented a turnaround and rehabilitation programme for underperforming assets (equities and properties), worth RM9.7 billion currently.
These assets have been transferred to a special purpose vehicle wholly-owned by the government, Urusharta Jemaah Sdn Bhd, at a price of RM19.9 billion in exchange for two sukuk valued at RM10 billion and RM9.6 billion respectively, with returns of 4.05 per cent and 4.1 per cent (RM800 million a year).
Following this, TH has successfully recorded an asset surplus of RM1 billion after registering total assets of RM76.5 billion against total liabilities of RM75.5 billion.
This has enabled the organisation to pay a dividend distribution of 1.25 per cent involving a payout of RM913 million to all its depositors for FY18.
Zukri said the balance totalling RM87 million was put into a newly created reserves account, Hibah Equalisation Reserve, as a precautionary move in facing any emergencies in the future.
“If later on we have a short of profit, (we can utilise) this account (as it) is distributable. We will maintain it in a liquid form.
“There is no fixed amount for time being but we will have a policy on this, where we are looking at 2-3 per cent to put aside…let the board decide later,” he explained.
Zukri has given the assurance that no shocking announcements would be made after this because all allocation for impairments on investments valued at RM1.5 billion had been made last year.
He said the periodical financial reports for every quarter of the year would be made to ensure depositors would be informed of TH’s financial position and operations to uphold transparency and accountability.
“The balance sheet that TH has right now comprises very good assets. The future of TH is bright. (What we have to do is) do not mess up another round.
“We should be in a much better position to pay competitive hibah for 2019 and going forward. I’m optimistic it will be more than 1.25 per cent,” he added.