Hajj cost: Gov’t will not burden pilgrims

Photo used for illustration purposes only

KUALA LUMPUR – The government will find ways not to burden hajj pilgrims, particularly the needy, if there is an increase in the cost of performing the hajj in the next season said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al Bakri.

It was still too early to estimate the rise in the total cost, he said, adding that they are looking into the matter.

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“We have yet to officially open (the border), I promise in January, (by then) hopefully COVID-19 (the number of cases) will decline, I will go to Saudi Arabia to look into the matter,” he said adding that any decision on the issue would be made accordingly and reported to the Cabinet before an official announcement is made.

Subsidies still on

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin earlier in June has stated that the government will continue the previous administration’s policy of providing subsidies for Malaysian pilgrims performing the hajj.

In a parliamentary written reply June 16, Muhyiddin said the subsidy will proceed as usual once Malaysians are allowed to make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia again.

He was referring to the Saudi government’s decision on June 22 to drastically scale-down the hajj this year amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, limiting the pilgrimage to 1,000 people already in the kingdom.

“The government would like to emphasise that all policies regarding hajj payments will be maintained, and no change of policy will be made,” he said in response a question by a member of parliament on the matter.

Since there will be no hajj for Malaysians in 2020, Muhyiddin said the subsidy for this year will not be provided.

As for those who had already paid Tabung hajji for this year’s cancelled trips, the prime minister said all the money has been returned to affected depositors.

“The hajj cost for a Muassasah pilgrim is RM22,900 per person, while the cost for a Muassasah who will be performing (his or her) hajj for the first time remains at RM9,980 per person.

“This means that TH bears the additional RM12,920 cost for each person eligible (to perform hajj that year),” he said.