Malaysia, Saudi Arabia to discuss quota for haj, umrah soon

MALAYSIA and Saudi Arabia are expected to hold discussions on the haj and umrah quota soon, said Saudi Arabia embassy’s religious attaché in Malaysia Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Rubaian.

He said the Saudi government, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was expected to receive a visit from Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss the matter.

“Discussions between the two countries on the haj and umrah quota this year will take place in the near future when Saudi Arabia receives an official visit from the PM, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri,” he told Bernama.

He said Saudi Arabia had never closed its doors to Malaysian pilgrims to perform haj and umrah after the reopening of the country’s borders, and Malaysians are always welcome to visit the country.

Malaysia was not on the list of 20 countries temporarily banned from Saudi Arabia as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19, he added.

On Feb 3, the Saudi government suspended the entry of people from 20 countries, namely, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the US, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, the UK, Turkey, Sweden, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland and South Africa.

In his meeting with NGO Antarabangsa chairman Datuk Dr Mustapha Ahmad Marican recently, Sheikh Abdul Rahman said the discussion involved matters related to haj and umrah for Malaysian pilgrims, education issues involving Malaysian students in Saudi Arabia, as well as matters related to trade and investment.

“All the recommendations submitted by NGO Antarabangsa will be perused and fine-tuned accordingly for the attention of Saudi Arabia,” he said. — Bernama