KOTA BARU, Nov 27 — The cost of performing the Haj is expected to increase by more than 50 per cent following the 15 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) introduced by the Saudi Arabian government, from only 5 per cent previously.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said this would result in the cost of performing the Haj for Malaysians to be more than RM30,000 compared to only RM23,000 previously.

“The exact amount will be decided by the Cabinet and will be announced early next year. However, Tabung Haji will bear part of the total cost,” he told reporters after presenting aid 18 families who were affected by a recent fire which destroyed their homes in Jalan Gajah Mati, here, today.

Ahmad Marzuk said the current cost of performing the haj was RM23,000, with the pilgrims only paying RM9,980 and the amount had never been increased since 2001.

On the haj quota for Malaysia, he said the matter would be known early next year.

“We will abide by all decisions made by the Saudi Arabian government whether to maintain the existing quota of 30,000 pilgrims or reduce it,” he added. — Bernama