by BERNAMA / pic by BLOOMBERG
PUTRAJAYA – The decision whether to send Malaysian pilgrims for the Haj season this year depends on the approval of the Saudi Arabian government and the COVID-19 situation, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.
The minister said he would always keep in touch with the Saudi Arabian government to get an update on the latest developments relating the matter.
“It not only involves Malaysian pilgrims but also (pilgrims) from all over the world. I am confident in the wisdom (of the Saudi Arabian government) in making a decision on the matter.
“…as a government, we want an official decision (on the haj approval)…we will fulfil whatever conditions that have been set,” he told reporters after launching ‘Kit Ramah’ and handing over wheelchairs to patients at three hospitals today.
At the event, Zulkifli handed over 600 Ramah Kits containing ‘tayammum’ sand, spray bottles for ablution, as well as 15 wheelchairs worth RM13,200 for patients at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Putrajaya Hospital and the National Cancer Institute.
On whether Malaysian pilgrims would be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once the haj approval is received, Zulkifli said the matter would be discussed at the Cabinet meeting.
Saudi Arabian Health Minister Dr Tawfiq al-Rabiah was previously reported to have said only people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to perform the haj this year.
However, he did not mention whether pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia were allowed to perform the haj pilgrimage.
Last year, the Saudi Arabian government reduced the number of pilgrims to 1,000 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.