KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — The cost to perform the Haj pilgrimage using the services of private companies is expected to reach RM40,000 to RM50,000 per person, said Association of Umrah and Haj Travel Agencies (PAPUH) president Datuk Seri Razali Mohd Sham.

He said this was due to the rising management costs consisting of accommodation, food and transportation that need to be borne by the pilgrims.

“Before this, the cost for one pilgrim to stay in Arafah and Mina was 1,034 Riyal (about RM1,166.44), now it has increased to 5,433 Riyal,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

He was asked to comment on the expected increase in the cost of performing Haj this year.

On April 7, Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) said it expects the cost of performing Haj for Muassasah pilgrims this year would increase to over RM25,000 per person following the hike in taxes and new service charges imposed by the Saudi Arabian government.

Razali said the increase in costs was also contributed by the increase in value-added tax (VAT) imposed by the Saudi Arabian government.

“Those who want to use these private services definitely need to take into account the location of the hotels and others that will affect the cost,” he said.

Meanwhile, Manazel Mashaer Travel Services Sdn Bhd managing director Mohd Lokman Hamzah said the price hike was partly due to soaring accommodation costs as only a limited number of hotels were allowed to operate.

“The hotels are available but the permit or licence to operate has not been approved yet due to the Covid-19 factor and the standard operating procedures set by the Saudi Arabian government. As a result, the price of a room which used to be around RM19,000 has increased to RM25,000,” he said.

While acknowledging that the rising costs would affect umrah and Haj companies, Mohd Lokman, however, hoped that those financially capable could accept the current price increase, which was inevitable.

“It is possible (the demand from Haj pilgrims) will decrease due to the increase in costs. If they were selected, most probably they will choose TH (at a cost of) RM25,000.

“Compared to the private sector like us, the lowest package is already priced at RM53,000 and the average price is RM55,000. The most expensive package can reach RM270,000 from RM230,000 previously,” he said. — Bernama