KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) expects the cost of performing Haj for Muassasah pilgrims this year to increase to more than RM25,000 per person following the hike in taxes and new service charges imposed by the Saudi Arabian government.
TH said the cost was due to a 12 per cent increase in cost for Muassasah pilgrims compared with RM22,900 in 2019.
“This 12 per cent increase takes into account the hike in Value-added Tax (VAT) from five per cent to 15 per cent and some additional service charges,” TH said in a statement today.
“This does not take into account the hike in various costs with the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will be implemented this year,” it said.
According to TH, the cost of Haj is the direct cost paid to obtain services to perform the religious rituals such as flights and accommodation which covers about 70 per cent of the total cost.
“Other costs include food, bus transportation, tents in Arafah and Mina as well as Mutawif services for 40 to 45 days.
“Almost all of these services are provided in Saudi Arabia and have been affected by the increase in VAT and inflation rates there,” read the statement.
TH also fully bears the indirect costs which reach RM60 million annually covering the cost of Haj preparation courses, publication of handbooks, health services and services of Haj staff.
Prospective pilgrims have been reminded to make early preparations in terms of health and expenses even though the Saudi Arabian government has not yet made an official announcement on the Haj pilgrimage for this year.
“Although the Haj has been postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit the world since 2020, TH continues to prepare for the Haj taking into account the current situation and developments in Saudi Arabia,” it said.
TH Haj executive director Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman, in the same statement, said the cost of Haj increased every year due to inflation in Saudi Arabia, foreign currency movements, improved services and development in Makkah and Madinah.
“TH expects the cost to continue to increase in the future. However, thus far, TH is still continuing to provide financial assistance to all Muassasah pilgrims who are performing the Haj for the first time,” he said.
According to Syed Saleh, based on TH’s record, RM2 billion has been channelled to pilgrims in the form of financial assistance for Haj since 2001.
“TH has maintained the Haj payment rate of RM9,980 for the past 13 years even though the cost of performing the Haj has increased every year.
“Between 2001 and 2019, the Haj payment has increased by 16 per cent while the Haj cost has jumped by 139 per cent due to factors beyond TH’s control,” he said. — Bernama