KUALA LUMPUR – A total of 23,700 haj pilgrims are scheduled to depart for Mecca or Madinah from today via 63 flights after having their visas approved.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said only 67 haj pilgrims are left waiting for their visas to be approved by the Saudi Arabian government.
Jamil said the aircraft for the flights were also upgraded from Boeing 777s to Airbus 330s to accommodate more haj pilgrims before the end of the Haj season this Aug 26.
“The Airbus 330 will be able to carry 420 passengers compared to the 278 passengers in Boeing 777. After their visas are approved, the haj pilgrims will be flown to Mecca or Madinah in stages.
“Other than meals and hotel stay, the remaining Haj pilgrims in Malaysia will be taken care of by Tabung Haji,” he said.
“Haj pilgrims seeking advice on their visa approval can go to the 24-hour information room at the Seri Setia room, Floor 1, Kompleks Haji, Kelana Jaya.”
He added that Tabung Haji has formed a special team to assist the delayed haj pilgrims on their journey to perform the fifth pillar of Islam.
Jamil said this in response to Idris Ahmad’s (Pas-Bukit Gantang) question in Parliament, today, on what the government had done to help the stranded haj pilgrims over their delayed visa approval.
The delay in approval of visas was caused by the overwhelming online visa applications for haj this year worldwide to the Saudi government.
Jamil said the visas were done in stages through e-Hajj, Muassasah and Saudi Foreign Affairs Ministry which is out of Tabung Haji or the government’s control. – NST