Subsidy abolition for Haj pilgrim successful in appeal, ‘mahram’ untrue, says minister

General view of the Grand Mosque in Mecca September 9, 2016. — Reuters pic
General view of the Grand Mosque in Mecca September 9, 2016. — Reuters pic

PARIT BUNTAR, Feb 16 — The government has never issued any official statement on the abolition of subsidy for individuals who are successful in their appeals and ‘mahram’ (those chosen to escort female pilgrims), to perform the Haj pilgrimage this year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof, stressed that subsidy allocation for individuals to perform Haj pilgrimage to the Holy Land under the two categories would be based on the Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (TH) discretion.

“News that went viral today, could have a malicious intent, to state that individuals who are successful in their appeals or as ‘mahram’ are not eligible for subsidy anymore. There is no official statement of such abolition and for those who are successful in their appeals, TH will take into account the individual’s financial capability.

He said this in a press conference after officiating the annual general meeting of the Kerian district’s government pensioners association here today.

Mujahid was commenting on the news that went viral pertaining to the issue of individuals who were successful in their appeals and as ‘mahram’, to perform the Haj pilgrimage, would not be eligible for the subsidy anymore, based on the reply posted by TH on its official Facebook account earlier today.

Mujahid, who is also Parit Buntar MP, said he would hold a meeting with TH to find the appropriate mechanism to determine the allocation of subsidy as it would be unfair if the subsidy to be given to those who were financially capable.

Meanwhile, TH, in a statement, said that it was still in the process of evaluating each individual’s appeal by taking into account all categories of appeals to be evaluated in detail.

“Any decision for the appeal will be based on the principle of istito’ah (capability).

“The offer letter will be issued to the successful appeal applicants to perform the Haj pilgrimage in the near future. TH also hopes that all parties would be patient while waiting for their appeals to be deliberated,” the statement said.

On Thursday, Mujahid announced the price for Muassasah Haj pilgrims performing the pilgrimage for the first time would remain at RM9,980 per person with the government subsidising a total of RM12,920.

The cost of each pilgrim has increased to RM22,900 this year, compared to RM22,450 last year. — Bernama