KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Only 14,306 Malaysian pilgrims are allowed to perform haj this year, a mere 45 per cent of the normal quota of Malaysian pilgrims given by Saudi Arabia.
The matter was announced by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad through a live broadcast on national televisions and social media platforms today.
The official pre-Covid-19 quota of haj pilgrims for Malaysia was 31,600.
“Saudi Arabia only allows one million pilgrims to perform haj this year with foreign pilgrims getting a major chunk of 85 per cent of the total number compared to 75 per cent in 2019,” he said.
Among other requirements for the pilgrims to be allowed to perform the haj are to be no older than 65, have no chronic illnesses, must have a Covid-19 vaccination certificate and have a negative result of the Covid-19 swab test within 72 hours before departure.
Idris said the requirements were set with the aim to ensure the health and safety of pilgrims from around the world.
“The Saudi government must have made proper study and assessment in all aspects to ensure the safety of the pilgrims in performing the fifth pillar of Islam.
“Tabung Haji (TH) is now in the midst of making final preparations to bring the Malaysian pilgrims to the Holy Land after not being able to do so for two years due to the pandemic.
“As the Religious Affairs Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, I have asked TH to provide the best service possible to the Malaysian pilgrims,” he said.
At the same time, he said all pilgrims were urged to make proper preparations in terms of knowledge, finance, mental and physical health, passport and related documents, as well as taking the compulsory Meningococcal and Covid-19 vaccinations.
The minister said the government would also continue providing haj subsidy this year and the cost to be paid by the pilgrims will be announced by TH tomorrow.
On behalf of the Malaysian Government, Idris also expressed the highest gratitude and appreciation to the Saudi Arabian Government for the haj quota given to Malaysia this year.
“This is indeed good news for all Muslims who have been waiting for two years to perform the haj as they cannot do so earlier due to Covid-19,” he added.