by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE
LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) has postponed all operations with regards to the 1442H haj season in line with the decision made by the Saudi Arabia government which does not allow entry for any international pilgrims including those from Malaysia to perform their haj due to health and security reasons.
The decision for the postponement came after the announcement made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affair) Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri on Saturday which said Malaysia will not send pilgrims this year after the Saudi Arabia government said it would only take in pilgrims that reside in the kingdom.
TH MD and CEO Datuk Seri Amrin Awaluddin said the group accepted the decision made by both governments although it had made preparations and planning for haj operations this year.
“TH is very grateful to the Saudi Arabia government which has always cooperated well with Malaysia and is very concerned in the affairs of the haj pilgrims of this country for a long time.
“TH also fully supports the decision made by the Malaysian government in its efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 since the enforcement of the third Movement Control Order,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He added pilgrims who were supposed to perform their haj last year, given priority this year will now be prioritised next year.
“Haj pilgrims for this year will also be given a chance next year, subject to the year’s quota,” he said.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced that it will allow 60,000 vaccinated residents of the kingdom to perform the annual haj.
The Ministry of Haj in Saudi Arabia said that those who wish to perform the haj must be free of chronic diseases and vaccinated, and between the ages of 18 and 65.
TH said Malaysians who reside in the kingdom can apply to the Saudi Arabia Haj Ministry to perform their haj, subject to the criteria and standard operating procedure set by the Saudi government.
Meanwhile, the general secretariat of the OIC welcomed the measures announced by the Ministry of Hajj as it would prevent the further spread of the pandemic.
The OIC’s secretary general Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen stressed that this year’s haj season would be a sequel to the successful organisation of haj last year as part of the precautionary and preventive measures taken by Saudi Arabia which contributed to reducing the adverse effects of the pandemic.
“Al-Othaimeen also praised the announced measures for performing haj and limiting it to specific groups, noting that Saudi Arabia has provided vaccines for all without exception.
“The secretary general also commended Saudi Arabia’s utmost care to the pilgrims’ health and safety, stressing that this has been the approach of the Saudi government since Allah honoured it with serving the two Holy Mosques, noting the massive expansions of the holy sites and the outstanding Saudi capabilities to organise haj in the most severe conditions,” OIC said in a statement yesterday.