TAWAU, Feb 27 — Malaysia is still waiting for Saudi Arabia to decide on the Haj quota for the country this year, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary.
He said that so far, the government has not been informed of the quota, adding that Malaysia normally sends about 32,000 pilgrims for the Haj pilgrimage.
“Once we have been informed of the exact number, we will begin filtering the pilgrims and decide who will be allowed to perform the Haj this year,” he told reporters after attending the Malaysian Islamic Economic Development Foundation’s (Yapeim) ‘Inspirasi Kasih’ programme here today.
He also said that the cost of performing the Haj this year is expected to rise following Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase its Value-Added Tax (VAT) by 15 per cent.
“Similarly, the cost of hotel accommodation in Saudi Arabia is also likely to increase due to Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) which will reduce the number of pilgrims to a room.
“However, if the cost of doing the Haj this year goes up, the government will make sure that it would not burden the pilgrims.
“The government might have to implement targetted subsidy so that the pilgrims are not burdened with the rising cost which is unavoidable,” he added.
At the event, Ahmad Marzuk presented donations to 76 heads of families who were victims of the Kampung Titingan fire here last year.
The assistance from YaPEIM totalling RM28,000 and from the Jakim Musaádah Fund totalling RM12,400 was in the form of food baskets. — Bernama