PUTRAJAYA: Muslims are advised to be wary of offers of umrah packages which are below the ceiling price of RM4,900 approved by the Umrah Regulatory Council (MKSU), Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said.
He said umrah fraud was on the rise with victims mostly from the less-affordable group.
“I am surprised there are people who cheat in the name of religion, cheating the village people, some of them selling their land (to go for umrah),” he told reporters after giving a keynote address at the Round-Table Conference of National Imam: Tourism Mosque Edition here Tuesday.
Citing statistics by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, he said 3,086 umrah fraud cases were reported between 2012 and 2015, involving losses of RM17.5 million.
Last year alone, 1,478 cases were reported with losses estimated at RM6.8 million, he added.
He advised Muslims intending to perform their umrah to liaise with travel agencies which were registered with his ministry.
There are 500 companies registered with the ministry, he said.
For further information, the public are advised to surf the websites www.motac.gov.my or www.jawhar.gov.my/umrah .
In another development, Mohamed Nazri said more mosques could be promoted for tourism if proactive measures were taken by the mosque committees, including ensuring cleanliness of the area and to equip it with the necessary facilities.
“This is because there are demand from tourists to visit historical mosques and see the architecture and design of the mosque building in the country,” he added.
He said there were currently more than 30 mosques in the list of tourism mosques in the country.
They include the National Mosque and the Federal Territory Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque and the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque and the Blue Mosque in Selangor and the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Floating Mosque and the Crystal Mosque in Terengganu, he added.
He said mosques with potential to be developed as tourism mosques included the Masjid Selat in Melaka, Kota Iskandar Mosque in Johor and City Hall Mosque in Sabah.