Tabung Haji chief also 1MDB director, Umno man points out

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah highlighted that Tabung Haji’s managing director also sits on 1MDB’s board of directors. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah highlighted that Tabung Haji’s managing director also sits on 1MDB’s board of directors. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Lembaga Tabung Haji group managing director Tan Sri Ismee Ismail is also on 1 Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) board of directors, a former deputy minister noted when highlighting a possible conflict in a land transaction involving the two.

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah further questioned the RM188.5 million sale of 1MDB land in the Tun Razak Exchange to the Muslim pilgrim fund, saying that Tabung Haji is meant to invest only in Shariah-compliant businesses.

“Isn’t Tabung Haji CEO TS Ismee Ismail on the 1MDB board of directors: isn’t there a conflict of interest here,” Saifuddin wrote on Facebook today.

1MDB lists Ismee as one of six people on its board of directors.

On Wednesday, news began surfacing that LTH was buying two parcels of land from 1MDB, purportedly for nearly RM800 million.

LTH chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim immediately denied this, before the board confirmed the deal next day albeit for one parcel at RM188 million instead of two as initially believed based on documents leaked by an anonymous blog.

The confirmation has prompted bipartisan calls from lawmakers and private groups for LTH to explain the “high-risk” transaction.

Earlier today, PKR lawmaker Rafizi Ramli pointed out that 1MDB coincidentally has interest payment worth RM188.5 million due soon on one of its loans.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has demanded the Finance Ministry explain what 1MDB will do with the RM188 million from LTH.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today also told LTH to terminate the property purchase immediately, saying that the fund was overpaying for the parcel.

The Tun Razak Exchange, planned as a 70-acre financial centre within the capital, is one of two high-profile property projects in 1MDB’s portfolio.

1MDB is currently under investigation by the Auditor General’s Department and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.