Higher quality of service for haj pilgrims expected with increase in cost - TH
MAKKAH - The increase in the cost of performing the haj pilgrimage this year is hoped to be on a par with the quality of services and welfare that the pilgrims will enjoy.
Head of the Malaysian Haj Delegation Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman, said that the cost increase was not only a major topic in Malaysia but also in other countries, and TH had high hopes that this year’s haj pilgrimage would be better than before.
"This matter has been discussed with regional countries, that the cost of haj has increased significantly compared with the previous year, due to several factors that are out of our control such as inflation, taxation and so on.
"There are also service improvements that will be provided by the Saudi Arabian authorities and the Southeast Asian Muassasah. This is in line with the 2030 vision and mission of the Saudi Arabian government. We hope that the cost increase will also improve the quality of services, especially during Masyair (massive movement of pilgrims),” he said.
He said this when met by reporters after welcoming the arrival of 291 haj pilgrims from Madinah at the Land Premium hotel, here, which is the second hotel to house Malaysian pilgrims.
According to Syed Saleh, the Makkah Route or pre-departure service for Malaysian pilgrims is also one of the best services, not to mention that Malaysia was among five other countries selected by Saudi Arabia.
Apart from that, other facilities that are expected to be improved include comfort in tents either in Arafah and Mina, toilet facilities, quality of food and smooth journeys on buses.
"Makkah Route is able to provide excellent convenience and comfort to our pilgrims because when they arrive at the airport, either at the Madinah Terminal or Jeddah, they board the bus without going through immigration or customs, and without having to wait for their luggage.
"The bus will take them straight to the hotel and their belongings will be delivered to their respective hotels. Improved service will also be experienced by the pilgrims while in Arafah and Mina. The tents are new and have air conditioning,” he said.
He stressed that although the cost has increased, only part of it was borne by the pilgrims, while the rest was managed by TH through the agency’s various revenues, investments and business; in fact, it involved large additional allocation.
Pilgrims who have been to Madinah and Makkah also had to face rising food prices in restaurants and other things.
"Actually, this significant cost increase also involves all goods and services in Saudi Arabia... not only performing haj but also daily necessities as well as souvenirs,” he said.
In a related development, to date, a total of 3,882 Malaysian haj pilgrims have safely arrived in Madinah via 15 flights.
They will arrive in Makkah in stages to perform the first umrah and follow various interesting programmes organised by TH.
Similar to the pilgrims from other flights, all those who boarded flight KT04 last night received a warm welcome by receiving a bouquet of flowers and sweets, and were served with Zamzam water by the management.
One of the pilgrims, Isnaini Raman, 48, said that she was very excited and grateful for being chosen to go to the Holy Land, despite missing her family, especially her husband who was unable to accompany her.
"I accepted the offer of haj in 2020 but it was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alhamdulillah, it is happening this time. It's hard to describe it in words. The good services provided by the TH management also overwhelmed us,” she said. - BERNAMA