PUTRAJAYA, Jan 27 — The new and improved standard operating procedures (SOPs) for umrah will be finalised after being closely scrutinised by several relevant agencies, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said.

She said the SOPs relating to quarantine order for umrah pilgrims were among those being looked into by the agencies, such as the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF), as quarantine matters were not under her ministry’s purview.

“Motac (Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture) has prepared the SOPs but we still need some input from other agencies, such as the MOH,” she told reporters after the presentation of Malaysian Traditional Costumes Under the Cultural Diplomacy Programme here today.

Yesterday, the Cabinet decided to allow Muslims to resume umrah pilgrimages from February 8 after umrah travel was suspended from January 8 following the increase in Covid-19 Omicron variant cases.

On the compensation claimed by umrah pilgrims affected by the suspension, Nancy said Motac was in the midst of discussing the matter with Tabung Haji (TH) on the compensation payment mechanism.

Earlier in her speech at the event, Nancy said the cultural diplomacy programme to empower national arts, culture and heritage activities was a programme jointly organised by Motac and the Foreign Ministry to promote Malaysian culture at all Malaysian embassies abroad.

She said five sets of Malaysian traditional costumes will be presented to 10 Malaysian embassies and high commissions, including that in Paris, London, Bangkok, Tokyo and Beijing.

“We have high hopes that the cultural diplomacy programme Besar will enhance the appreciation and awareness of Malaysian envoys overseas to promote Malaysian culture.

“It can also strengthen cultural ties between Malaysian and other countries,” she added. — Bernama