By OMAR RIDZUAN
AFTER a tumultuous 2018, Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) is set to rebound this year.
This is due to better management, cost cutting measures, new depositors and an improved sentiment.
TH is also able to pay higher dividends as it has roped in 87,000 new depositors.
Its asset in 2019 is expected to exceed an additional RM1 billion compared to 2018.
Recall that TH was beset by numerous issues over the past few years which include its link with 1MDB, corruption, low asset and its inability to pay higher dividends.
But in 2019, all signs point to a rosier year because for the first nine months alone, the pilgrim management fund made a net profit of RM1.3 billion.
This is an amazing feat considering the weak global economy which has dragged lower other sectors such as the stock market.
TH is also expected to deliver a sterling performance due to the prudent management by its charismatic managing director Datuk Seri Zukri Samat.
Zukri is known to be a focused man as demonstrated during his stint at BIMB Holdings Berhad.
Political analysts said TH is also riding on the improved image of Pakatan Harapan which has a cleaner image compared with the corruption ridden Barisan Nasional.
In the past, BN politicians always used TH to boost their political image, of which Pakatan has put to a stop.
However, TH is not completely out of the woods.
Its investments in the stock market could be volatile due to the uncertain global economy right now.
Its income might be affected by the challenging economy.
But as long as TH diversify its portfolio to span across property, travel, plantations and others, the pilgrim management is on a solid footing to deliver higher dividends by year-end.