KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the cancellation of the Integrated Manasik Monitoring System (IMAMS) for umrah visa applications was because of the RM90 compulsory fee.
News portal Malaysiakini reported that Nazri as saying that he did not agree with the fee and that the public outcry over IMAMS’ non-Muslim chief executive had nothing to do with his decision.
“No, nothing to do... I decided to cancel it because I don’t agree with (the fee of) RM90, and because it was announced as compulsory. That’s all,” Nazri reportedly said.
His deputy, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said she was only aware of who sat on the IMAMS’ board of directors after the press conference to unveil the system on Friday.
Nazri also clarified that what was discussed in the Cabinet meeting was not what was announced to the public.
“The agreed charge should be RM40, inclusive of insurance, and it must be optional.
“It is not the ministry’s programme, but a private sector’s initiative, so it cannot be imposed compulsorily,” he reportedly added.
The scheme that came into effect on Friday charged each applicant a total fee of RM90.10: RM45 for processing, RM40 for a takaful insurance scheme, and 6 per cent GST.
The visa processing fee was the lowest among countries with similar systems.
The introduction of IMAMs led to some complaints, particularly from groups already handling umrah travel and packages, which insisted that there were sufficient safeguards against fraud.