SEPANG – The first batch of 407 Malaysian pilgrims arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here Tuesday night, via Saudi Airlines Flight SV5701.
Their arrival at 9.50pm from the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was greeted by family members and relatives who waited at the airport since 7pm.
Also present at the KLIA was Tabung Haji (TH) chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and top TH management officers.
At a press conference, Abdul Azeez said a total of 68 flights would bring home Malaysian pilgrims beginning today until Oct 28, of which 43 flights involve Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) and the rest by Saudi Airlines.
He said the pilgrims were part of the 25,087 people who performed the Haj, including 2,785 who were last-minute pilgrims.
He said three pilgrims were unable to perform the Wukuf due to coma and TH would give priority to them to perform the Haj next year if their health improved.
“Twenty-four people died, eight of them due to the crane collapse at the Grand Mosque and the stampede in Mina.
“If we deduct from the deaths caused by accidents, only 16 died and it is lower than the total number of deaths of 36 people last year and 39 deaths in 2013,” he said.
Abdul Azeez said the decrease in the pilgrim death toll was due to the TH management’s thorough preparation in terms of health care, including medical specialists and increasing the number of paramedics.
On the personal belongings of pilgrims who died, he said the TH management would take the belongings home and hand them over to the families, including a death certificate through each management branch.