It is logical to question if it is appropriate to use 1MDB funds to sponsor Muslim pilgrimages, as the company’s investments may not be all halal, an Amanah MP said.
Kuala Terengganu MP Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad said the matter was also raised in Parliament two years ago, after it was revealed that 1MDB invested funds in the Cayman Islands.
“The Cayman Islands is known as a hub for investment of proceeds from gambling, drug trade and other organised crime, so is this money then used to fund haj trips by 1MDB?
“I raised this question while debating the Anti-Money-Laundering Bill to seek an explanation on why the government did not find somewhere else to invest in God’s vast earth.
“The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department did not give a clear reply except to say ‘it is only a short term investment’.
“A forbidden act remains forbidden even if it is only for a short term as there are many other halal options,” he said in a statement today.
This comes after Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki criticised Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad for saying that haj performed with 1MDB funds might not be be accepted by God.
Pahang mufti Abdul Rahman Osman added whether or not someone’s haj is accepted by God has nothing to do with the source of funding, but the deeds of those performing the haj.
Scholars must be fair
He said those receiving sponsorship to perform the haj also need not question the source of funding.
“What’s important is that he (the sponsor) made it possible for someone to perform the haj,” he was quoted by Free Malaysia Today as saying.
Responding to this, Raja Bahrin urged Islamic scholars to be fair and righteous in their views.
“It it a righteous act for an Islamic scholar who speaks the ugly truth in front of a cruel leader, and not just to praise while they are in power and censure when they are not.
“The term ‘ulama cari makan’ (Islamic scholars who are just out to earn a living) should never exist,” he said.
1MDB Foundation has since 2011 sponsored mosque committees to perform the haj, a requirement in Islam for those who can afford it.
The foundation sponsored 111 people in 2011 and hundreds more the following years.
In 2015, 1,200 were sponsored to perform the haj by the 1MDB Foundation.
Last year the sponsorship was extended to selected imams and village chiefs.