Travel and tourism association wants more info on 14 per cent unvaccinated umrah pilgrims

10 Jan 2022 06:51pm
Muslim wearing ihram clothes and ready for Hajj or umrah. (Source: 123rf)
Muslim wearing ihram clothes and ready for Hajj or umrah. (Source: 123rf)

SHAH ALAM - The Selangor Association For Travel and Tourism Agencies (Saftta) today questioned Health Minister Khairy Jamaludin's statement that 14 per cent of Muslims who went to Saudi Arabia for umrah pilgrimage recently had no records of being vaccinated againts Covid-19 as required.

The body, which represents 580 agencies dealing with tourism, travel, hotels and theme parks, said the minister's remarks on Jan 6 raised concerns about the integrity of industry players.

Its president Dr Fathir Badri said the standard operating procedure (SOP) for umrah was extremely rigid.

“Information regarding vaccine types received as well as health level needs to be submitted into an application known as ‘Muqem’ 72 hours before their flights.

“This application is also connected to two other applications, ‘Tawakalna’ and ‘Eatamarna’ where the information is interlinked for the pilgrims to get a slot to perform umrah, enter Raudhah and perform their prayers at Masjidil Haram and Masjid Nabawi.

“We feel disheartened that the ministry's investigation is still on-going even after 4 days since the statement was released.

"Therefore, Saftta demands immediate response from the Health Ministry if the 14 per cent mentioned were all umrah pilgrims,” he said in a statement.

He said people have been blaming the umrah pilgrims for lying in order to perform umrah especially on their social media to the point that it attracted a few muftis to give their comments on the issue.

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“The longer the ministry takes, the worse the community's perception of the umrah pilgrims,” he added.

Fathir urged the ministry to provide a statement once it has been proven that it was managed by a toruism agency.

He added that if it was done by a tourism agency, Saftta will support any action taken by the Tourims, Arts and Culture Ministry to wards the agency involved.

On Jan 6, Khairy had said that 14 percent out of 122 Omicron variant Covid-19 cases had no records of vaccination.

He said the issue was still being investigated as they had just received the data.