Some 49 flights are provided to bring home all 14,305 Malaysian pilgrims
by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic by AUFA MARDHIAH
MALAYSIA’S first group of 298 pilgrims arrived safely at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 9.05am today via Saudia Airlines flight SV 5612.
For the 1443H/2022M haj season, 49 flights were provided to bring home all 14,305 Malaysian pilgrims via Malaysia Airlines and Saudia Airlines from July 17 to Aug 13, 2022.
The last flight via MH 8351 is expected to arrive at KLIA at 1.30pm with 284 pilgrims.
According to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, haj operations this year had run smoothly.
“All our pilgrims were able to perform their haj safely, comfortably and in an orderly manner. Even though the weather was quite hot, reaching almost 50°C, the pilgrims still fulfilled their religious deeds orderly and with high discipline,” he said in a press conference at KLIA today.
Commenting on the furada visa, Ahmad Marzuk said some parties have taken advantage of it by offering dubious packages.
The furada visa is a private visa reportedly issued by Saudi Arabia, without involving the quota allocated to Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH).
“We welcome the Saudi Arabian government to provide furada visas as an added value to our haj management, but it becomes unfortunate when certain individuals take advantage of it.
“We will have discussions with agencies under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to come up with mechanisms for future haj seasons to ensure pilgrims are no longer deceived by this kind of fake visa packages,” he said.
Meanwhile, TH chairman Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said as of last Saturday, a total of 24 Malaysian pilgrims had received treatment at the TH Treatment Centre, while one pilgrim passed away in Makkah from walking fatigue and mild symptoms due to the hot weather.
Pilgrim Siti Abidah Rodzi, who completed her haj for the first time, said her journey was smooth sailing from departure day until today through the “Makkah Route” programme compared to when she performed her umrah in 2019 where she had to wait two hours at the Saudi Arabian immigration.
“The challenge was the weather there, which is currently hotter than Malaysia. When I first arrived in Madinah, I felt like I was going to faint, but eventually my body adapted to the environment,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) when met at KLIA.
She added that due to the weather and crowd, she was ill for two out of the five weeks in Makkah.
Meanwhile, Radin Zainal Muhammad @ Mokhtar was grateful to be able to perform the haj amid the still prevalent Covid-19.
“The Saudi Arabian government is not trivial in managing the haj pilgrims despite the Covid-19 infection still rampant. TH’s services were also very good in managing the Malaysian pilgrims.
“The distance from my hotel to the Masjid al-Haram was not far and only took about 20 minutes of walking, but it was still a challenge because of the very hot weather compared to Malaysia,” he said to TMR.