Matta: Take action, allow licensed travel operators to organise haj packages


THE government should take stern actions against those involved in the haj package fraud to stop it from recurring in the future, the Malaysian Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (Matta) says.

Matta also urged the government to revise the Tabung Haji Act 1995, to allow or open more quotas for other tourism agencies under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) to also be allowed to manage haj pilgrims. 

Apart from that, Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) also needs to increase the enforcement and inspection of hajj packages in accordance with the Act.

“As a national tourism association, Matta will always work with the authorities in curbing cases of pilgrimage fraud. In fact, Matta will also list its members and travel agents who are legally registered with Haj organisers (PJH) to make it easier for the community to make references in booking haj packages in the future, ” Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said in a statement today.

The public, according to Tan, should also be given awareness to only book haj and umrah packages through PJH and also legitimate travel agents who have registered as Matta members. 

With this, at the same time, it is easier for Matta to regulate the members under Matta in providing comprehensive assistance in the event of untoward incidents.

According to the organisation, Malaysia is the only country where only one government agency is allowed to manage pilgrims. 

It said that the waiting queue to perform Haj through TH should be reviewed.

The public, Matta said, also needs to be more careful when choosing to book and purchase haj or umrah packages to fraud syndicates by irresponsible travel agencies.

Yesterday, TH 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).

Last week, about 380 prospective Haj pilgrims were stranded at the KLIA, believed to have been cheated by a travel agency.

The group is said to have been issued the furada or private Haj visa to perform their pilgrimage without going through TH.

In response, Motac said the victims will be refunded in stages and have their passports returned.

Those who did not get their money back are advised to lodge a police report at the KLIA Main Terminal Building police station or the nearest police station, Motac said.