PKR Secretary General Rafizi Ramli on 25 February 2016 stated that Tabung Haji (TH) stands to lose RM1.4 billion due to its underperforming subsidiary, TH Heavy Engineering Berhad (THHE) of which 29.8 percent of its shares are owned by TH. After being charged in court due to this unfounded allegation, Rafizi recently changed his claim by saying that TH will lose RM554 million instead due to its investments in THHE.
Now Rafizi thinks that what he said was ‘true’ and wants TH to retract its police report on him. How Rafizi came up with the RM1.4 billion in the first place was a question mark. Anybody could just quote any figure of losses to downgrade anybody, what more to simply change the figure in the course of time. This becomes worst if the claim originated from a public figure like Rafizi.
As expected, TH shares dropped after being bombarded by Rafizi, of course this is on top of the risky investment made on TH’s part. It was indeed a bold move by TH to invest in such ventures, but as like many other saving funds, the board needs to decide on which risks to take in order for the company to make profit.
What may seem to be like a lucrative opportunity when THHE started its operation back in 2002, the drop in oil prices in 2008 was like a kick in the teeth for company. THHE survived the first oil price drop but the most recent one that started last year is now taking its toll on the company. TH is indeed doing what it can to save THHE. Yes it may have been unfortunate to see THHE suffering from the global economic loss, but is abandoning THHE the right thing to do?
THHE currently has thousands of employees under its wings, including that of its direct vendors, and oil and gas (O&G) is never a finished business. One cannot just abandon ship on THHE just because of the current business climate in O&G. Because THHE is not doing well, Rafizi wants TH board to be held accountable for the losses in THHE. In the end, Rafizi wants the government of Malaysia to be held accountable for TH for making losses in THHE due to the bad oil prices. This is just too much from Rafizi.
In reality, Rafizi is politically desperate. He is currently at odds with Azmin Ali in PKR and is now desperate to project himself to challenge the new political wave headed by Tun M, which Azmin is evidently a large part of. But to see thousands of people in THHE losing their jobs by abandoning ship just when the weather gets rough is indeed a bad call, more so by Rafizi’s standard. Instead, Rafizi should actually provide solutions for THHE if he is as smart as how he claims to be, not quoting figures to show the financial damage by THHE just for the sake of his own political mileage.
Nik Haikal Nik Ibrahim is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly his personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.