Govt urged to release Umrah SOPs immediately

Details are needed for industry players and pilgrims to prepare the necessary documents for the reopening period within a week from now 

by NURUL SUHAIDI / Pic by BERNAMA

THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) wants the government to immediately approve the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Umrah travels which will resume from Feb 8, 2022. 

Its president Mohd Azri Abd Razak said given the reopening period is within a week from now, details are needed for industry players and pilgrims to prepare the necessary documents and preparations. 

The association also suggested that upon their return, fully vaccinated pilgrims should be allowed to undergo self-quarantine at home while those who have obtained booster shots would not be required for quarantine if their polymerase chain reaction test results are negative. 

For pilgrims who are tested positive, they should be placed at quarantine centres appointed by the government. 

Mohd Azri added that the Saudi Arabia government currently does not require Malaysian pilgrims to undergo quarantine if they are already fully vaccinated. 

“We can take the example of the pilot project in Langkawi where tourists from abroad are not required to be quarantined if they have complete vaccination status and negative PCR test results,” he said in a statement yesterday. 

Previously, the Health Ministry did not restrict people from performing the umrah despite the increase in Omicron cases among returning pilgrims. 

“Taking into consideration the mild side effects of Omicron among the pilgrims who have taken the booster dose, people should be allowed to go perform the Umrah. 

“Compared to other countries, Malaysia is still behind in border reopening, therefore we urge the government to speed this up since most people have taken booster doses. 

“This is critical to save the country’s economy and tourism agencies, especially the Bumiputera who are involved in Umrah management,” Mohd Azri said. 

Due to the suspension of Umrah travel, Matta hoped that the government could immediately release the SOPs as many things need to be rectified by players of the travel industry.