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Opinion

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

Keep the original intention in mind

AS a depositor, I am very happy with Tabung Haji for the recently announced hibah which was a total of 6.25% for 2017 compared to 5.75% last year.

I still remember my late father saving up money for the family to deposit into our Tabung Haji accounts. Until today, I appreciate his hard work and efforts to ensure that everyone of us in the family would be able to perform the haj when the time comes. Alhamdullilah, before he left us, he got the chance to perform his haj.

I recently stumbled upon a column by Dr Ridzwan Bakar, a professional lecturer in Islamic finance at the MMU. In it, he said hibah is based on the concept of Wadiah Yad Dhamanah, which means we should not be expecting returns from our savings.

This resonated with the advice my late father shared with us. Little did we know that today, many people would still be unaware of the concept of saving with Tabung Haji and its role as an institution.

Tabung Haji is a savings fund where depositors put their money to save up to perform the haj, and hibah is merely a gift. It is neither a bonus nor a dividend.

What amuses me most is when people bash Tabung Haji and question the way it calculates the hibah. Tabung Haji has already come up with a statement explaining the method of calculation.

Yes, Tabung Haji should have foreseen this issue because of the lack of explanation on the calculation method. Doubts could have been avoided if detailed explanations had been given right from the start.

But why should we bash Tabung Haji if our hearts are pure and we do not expect anything in return, except to save to perform the haj?

Despite the various criticisms, I applaud Tabung Haji for its valuable services over the years. Rather than criticise it, we should instead thank Tabung Haji for maintaining the cost of performing the haj at RM9,980 per pilgrim despite the rising prices.

Have we also forgotten how Tabung Haji made the pilgrimage to Mecca possible for those who are less fortunate? I can’t imagine how they could afford to perform the haj without Tabung Haji.

While other countries are singing praises of and trying to emulate Tabung Haji for its excellent services, why are we condemning it in our own backyard? Have we grown so obnoxious and forgotten our main purpose in depositing with Tabung Haji? We should be proud of our Malaysian Pilgrims Fund Board as I believe the result speaks for itself.

SYED TARIQ AMRAN

Klang