by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / Pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) expects the cost for muassasah pilgrims to perform haj in 1443H/2022 to increase to more than RM25,000 per person, following the increase in taxes and new service charges imposed by the Saudi Arabian government, compared in 2019 of RM22,900.
TH said in a statement yesterday that the increase of 12% took into account the increase in value added tax (VAT) which had been increased from 5% to 15% and some additional service charges.
It added this is not taking into account various cost increases with new standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be implemented this year.
The cost of haj is the direct cost paid to obtain services to perform the worship such as flights and accommodation, which covers about 70% of the total cost.
Other costs include meals, bus transportation, tents in Arafah and Mina as well as mutawif services for 40 to 45 days, and almost all services provided in Saudi Arabia are affected by the increase in VAT and inflation rates there.
TH Haj ED Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman (picture) said the haj cost increased every year due to inflationary factors in Saudi Arabia, foreign currency movements, the introduction of new charges and taxes, service improvements and development in Makkah and Medina.
He said TH expects the cost to continue to increase in the future but TH is continuing to provide financial assistance to all muassasah pilgrims who are performing haj for the first time.
“Besides that, TH has maintained the haj payment rate of RM9,980 for the past 13 years even though the cost of performing the haj has increased every year. During the period 2001 to 2019, haj fees have increased by 16%, while haj costs have jumped by 139% due to factors beyond TH’s control.
“TH’s records show that RM2 billion has been given to pilgrims in the form of financial assistance for haj since 2001,” he said in the same statement.
TH added that they will continue to prepare for the haj by taking into account the current situation and developments in Saudi Arabia despite the Saudi Arabian government having yet to make an official announcement regarding the pilgrimage for this season.