KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — An aide to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the former prime minister had performed “umrah” without neither a complete Covid-19 nor meningococcal meningitis (MM) vaccines in March 2021 as they were not mandatory then.

In a statement, Mohd Naim Mahmod today said all the delegates then including the former prime minister had received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine before leaving for Saudi Arabia and received their second one upon returning home.

They were not vaccinated against MM as it was not made mandatory by both the Malaysian and Saudi governments as well.

“At that time, the Malaysian and Saudi Arabian governments did not impose complete conditions on the injection of Covid-19 vaccine or other vaccines for any traveller wishing to travel to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

He also said Muhyiddin’s official working visit was subject to strict standard operating procedures including PCR testing before, during and after the visit. 

Those PCR tests found that all delegates were negative for Covid-19, he said.

Mohd Naim said thus, the claim made by independent preacher Abu Syafiq yesterday that Muhyiddin had not taken any vaccine for the Muslim minor pilgrimage is false.

Abu Syafiq courted controversy after claiming that he had taken several umrah pilgrims without vaccination in his Instagram account, accusing several ministers of doing the same.

The religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad has since urged the relevant authorities to investigate the freelance preacher.

The government had decided to temporarily suspend travel permission to perform umrah starting January 8 to curb the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant which led to allegations of discrimination against Muslims hurled by critics.

Earlier this week, the Health Ministry said a total of 16 Covid-19 clusters involving umrah pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia have been detected from November 25, 2021 until today, with seven of the clusters’ index cases confirmed to be of the Omicron variant.