Hundreds of Malaysian pilgrims stranded yet again in Saudi Arabia

The pilgrims flew to Saudi Arabia on December 11 for their pilgrimage after buying a tour package for RM 3,800, which some pointed out was significantly cheaper than the usual package price. — Reuters pic
The pilgrims flew to Saudi Arabia on December 11 for their pilgrimage after buying a tour package for RM 3,800, which some pointed out was significantly cheaper than the usual package price. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — A group of 453 Malaysian pilgrims have reportedly been left wondering about their return from Saudi Arabia after two flights that were supposed to bring them back was cancelled.

According to The Star, the group who went on umrah, or minor pilgrimage, was supposed to have returned home five days ago, but two flights, one on Dec 22 and another one yesterday, both did not take off as expected.

The pilgrims flew to Saudi Arabia on December 11 for their pilgrimage after buying a tour package for RM 3,800, which some pointed out was significantly cheaper than the usual package price.

The Umrah and Haj Travel Agents Association president Datuk Seri Razali Mohd Sham has confirmed that the agency responsible was not licensed and was a rebranded version of an agency previously shut down by authorities.

The tour agency seemed to have run into problems managing the pilgrims’ trip from the start.

They were reportedly due to depart to Saudi Arabia on December 3 but also suffered two flight cancellations before 453 of them were flown out on December 11, that too under the name of a different agency.

One of the pilgrims, who called herself Izura M, however said she still has faith in the agency as they have been paying for the pilgrims’ extended stay in Saudi Arabia.

“So far, I trust this agency, as they have been providing for our stay and meals ... we haven’t been left at the airport or on the streets to fend for ourselves but everyone is still worried,” she reportedly said.

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