Tabung Haji denies haj cartel allegations

by FAYYADH JAAFAR / Pic by TMR

LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) has denied claims of a cartel in its annual haj pilgrimage programme selection.

TH said it issued licensed haj organiser (PJH) licences to 22 local tourism companies on Feb 22 this year, where the companies have gone through a thorough screening and selection process to operate as licensed PJH for the haj season 1443 (2022).

The condition for applying to become a PJH is to meet certain criteria, including having experience in conducting umrah for three consecutive years, records of Bank Negara Malaysia through the Credit Reference Information System Centre, which contain information such as the finances of the company’s directors, the company’s shareholders, and any individuals in the company’s management.

It also requires experienced management and staff, clean audit reports for the last two years, and audited financial report for the last three years, positive shareholder funds, an official statement issued by the Malaysian Insolvency Department stating that companies and individuals are not bankrupt, passing the umrah assessment conducted by the TH office in Saudi Arabia, and free of court cases.

TH ED and head of the Malaysian Haj Delegation Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman said the system had been used since 2000 and was improved periodically. The system was last updated this year.

“The conditions for the selection of PJH are to ensure that local tourism companies have a strong capacity and are able to provide the best haj services, including being able to take care of the welfare of Malaysian pilgrims,” he said in a statement today.

This year, two new PJHs are Az Zuha Group Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd and Mimm Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd.

PJH license applications open annually and close on Ramadan 1. Applications for season 1445H/2024 will close on Ramadhan 1444H.

“Therefore, the ‘cartel’ allegations are completely untrue and baseless.

“Any company can apply to become a licensed PJH under TH and be selected when it meets the conditions set,” he explained.