PETALING JAYA – The first batch of 450 Malaysian pilgrims left for Mecca this morning by Saudi Arabia Airlines’ flight.
The embarkment ceremony held at the Tabung Haji (TH) Complex in Kelana Jaya here, was officiated by TH chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.
According to senior general manager (Hajj) cum 1436H Hajj entourage chief Datuk Syed Saleh Abdul Rahman, flight SV5701 was expected to arrive in Medina at 9am Saudi Arabian time.
The trip to Medina from KL International Airport takes 8 hours.
The first group was part of about 1,000 Malaysian pilgrims who were scheduled to leave for the holy land today.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Abdul Azeez said he was confident that Saudi Arabia had taken the necessary security measures to ensure the pilgrimage went smoothly, following unrest in a neighbouring country.
“We (TH) have also taken certain initiatives and sent staff with a security background to take care of our congregation,” he said.
Abdul Azeez said Saudi Arabia had given assurances that the turmoil would not affect pilgrims in Mecca and Medina.
A total of 22,320 Malaysian pilgrims will gradually leave for the holy land, with the last flight on Sept 16, while return journeys will begin from Sept 29 until Oct 27.
A total of 64 flights comprising 39 from Malaysia Airlines, and 25 from Saudi Arabia will depart from seven airports nationwide. – BERNAMA