M’sia still waiting for additional Haj quota appeal decision

Datuk Idris Ahmad

BANGI – Malaysia is still waiting for the Saudi Arabian government’s decision on the country’s appeal for an additional quota of 5,000 pilgrims to perform the 2022 haj season, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Idris Ahmad.

“Thus far, there is no answer yet. We pray to Allah to ease the process,” he told the media after attending the Aidilfitri celebration with the chief executive officers of Malaysian companies and the permanent representative of the Corporate Dakwah Secretariat (SDK) of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) here today.

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On May 16, Idris was reported to have said that the government had submitted the appeal while attending the World Muslim Communities Council Conference in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia has set a pilgrimage quota of one million haj pilgrims for the 2022 season, with 85 per cent allocated to foreign pilgrims, and Malaysia has been given a quota of 14,306 for this season, a mere 45 per cent of the usual annual quota received, with the same percentage applying to all countries.

The first flight of Malaysian haj pilgrims to Makkah is scheduled for May 31.

Asked about the offer letter for the second group of haj pilgrims for the 2022 season, Idris said the Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) had issued the offer letters on May 10 and the prospective pilgrims were given 10 days to respond.

He said thus far he had not received information on how many had accepted the haj offer.

In another development, Idris said until today, Jakim had not been contacted by an informant who made disclosure of alleged violations of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for food safety, hygiene and halal standards at an abattoir in Australia.

“Investigations are ongoing and we are looking for more evidence. If there is information on other abattoirs please do alert us and we will take action,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the event today, Idris said the dakwah approach today must be simple, concise, factual and interactive, in line with the current trend.

He said dakwah bodies must adapt to the current environment, including in their dakwah work, while the method of dakwah must always be fresh, interactive and relevant, because sometimes the approach of the past five years is no longer relevant to the context of dakwah today.