TH Hotels owner defends Guan Eng, calls rumour of shutdown malicious

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
TH Hotel Kota Kinabalu, TH Hotel Bayan Lepas, TH Hotel & Convention Centre Alor Setar, and TH Hotel & Convention Centre Kuala Terengganu will operate under the name Raia Hotel starting April 1. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd (UJ) denied today rumours that the Ministry of Finance or its minister, Lim Guan Eng, had shut down TH Hotels and laid off its workers, calling the allegations malicious and irresponsible.

UJ, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MoF Inc, said the hotel franchise will continue to operate but under a new brand and managed by its sister company, UJ Property Management Sdn Bhd (UJPM), as part of a restructuring exercise meant to boost its assets.

“UJ strongly denies all malicious and false allegations that the Ministry of Finance or that the Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng, has irresponsibly shut down TH Hotels and subsequently dismissed the affected hotel staff,” it said in a statement.

“UJ also condemns all irresponsible and false allegations including various viral social media posts maligning the minister of Finance, including one which carried a death threat.”

The hotels were among assets worth RM9.63 billion UJ acquired from Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) for RM19.9 billion, as part of a rescue package proposed by LTH and tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

The RM19 billion cash injection followed a PwC audit that exposed the fund’s massive debt in 2018.

Among others, the PwC report said the previous Barisan Nasional administration had artificially inflated and manipulated the fund’s profit estimates and that its liabilities had exceeded its assets.

The four hotels — TH Hotel Kota Kinabalu, TH Hotel Bayan Lepas, TH Hotel & Convention Centre Alor Setar, and TH Hotel & Convention Centre Kuala Terengganu — will operate under the name Raia Hotel starting April 1, the company said.

On social media, critics of the Pakatan Harapan administration have tried to paint the exercise as an attempt to choke Malay businesses.

UJ, however, said Lim was not involved in the decision-making for the aforementioned restructuring exercise or any decision that pertains to the company.

“He did not even attend any meetings on any of the matters relating to UJ,” its statement said.

UJ’s assets are managed and governed by its own board chaired by Treasury Chief Secretary Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Bin Mohd Zahir, while the board of directors, chief executive officer Izad Sallehuddin and the senior management are Muslim professionals, UJ stressed.

“With this rescue package to protect the interest of LTH contributors and to help nurse LTH back to health, LTH will no longer need to bear the RM10.3 billion of losses on the value of these assets, as the losses are borne by UJ and the Malaysian government,” the company said.

“LTH will also no longer need to be burdened with the risk of further losses on these transferred assets.”


 

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