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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tabung Haji eyes Europe properties

Muslim fund manager Tabung Haji is looking to invest in properties in Europe to expand its scope of investments.

Its chief executive officer Datuk Ismee Ismail said London was one of the locations the company was looking at.

"To date, we've invested RM2.3 billion on properties, both locally and overseas, which is 20 per cent of our total fund size.

"Right now our foreign properties are located in Mecca and Madinah but we're currently surveying investment opportunities in Europe," he told reporters in Johor Baru yesterday.

Another plan on the cards is a Tabung Haji scholarship for higher education in Islamic studies in a local or foreign institution.

Ismee said the proposal was still at a planning stage.

"We hope to launch the scholarship next year after we decide on the amount and the number of students to be sponsored."

He said the fund's deposit base has been increasing steadily over the past six years by as much as RM1.2 billion annually.

This year, Tabung Haji funds stand at RM23 billion, compared to RM16 billion in 2006.

"Not only has the amount deposited gone up over the years, the number of depositors has also risen.

"Last year, we had 4.5 million depositors. Now, the figure is 4.7 million people," Ismee said.

In 2008, depositors enjoyed a five per cent dividend rate, a return which Ismee said the company would try to repeat for 2009.

Earlier, Ismee and Johor religious adviser Datuk Nooh Gadut handed out aid to 580 underprivileged and elderly folk at the Tabung Haji office in Johor Baru.

A total of RM290,000 was allocated to the Johor branch for the aid, which was in the form of food hampers and cash contributions.

By Business Times (by Anis Ibrahim)

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