KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — The police have opened 252 investigation papers on Haj and umrah scams since 2019 involving RM9.81 million, said Deputy Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan.

He also said that in the same period, Malaysian Consumer Claims Tribunal (TTPM) handled 1,549 cases involving RM29.58 million in claims and awarded RM16.37 million in compensation.

“For the year 2023 until May 2024, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) has received a total of 349 umrah complaints with a loss of RM14.09 million where Motac has advised the complainant to make a claim with TTPM for compensation and file a police report for fraud cases .

“In this connection, Motac has opened 19 investigation papers related to umrah with eight cases resolved with RM241,000 in compound payments. Others are still under investigation on the umrah operator agency,” he said during the ministers’ question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

One of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims go for the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca during a specific period in the Islamic calendar. Umrah is a similar minor pilgrimage that can be done at any time of the year.

Khairul Firdaus said the ministry has suspended and revoked the licences of two umrah operator agencies in relation to offences under the Tourism Industry Act 1992.

“In addition, Motac takes preventive measures by monitoring unlicensed companies online that are likely to commit fraud by updating the Alert List of Entities Violating the Tourism Industry Act 1992 on Motac's website and social media.

“We also often work with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to block and deactivate the social media accounts of unlicensed entities,” he said.

As of May 2024, Khairul Firdaus said there are a total of 272 unlicensed entities that are found to be selling tour packages.