IPOH: The public has been urged not to be duped by fraudulent 'jump the queue' activities purportedly to enable prospective pilgrims to perform haj quicker as well as umrah and badal haj (haj by proxy), which are becoming more rampant, especially after permission to travel abroad was announced recently.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs), Senator Idris Ahmad, said that it is feared that more prospective pilgrims and depositors in the Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) would fall victims if such activities were not addressed soon.

"These scams are common, not only involving TH; some involved the Employees Provident Fund, government pensioners and others. It is best to listen to official announcements by TH.

"This matter is worrying not only from the aspect of operations but also to pilgrims and depositors. We always make announcements on this matter on all platforms that we do not make offers for badal haj and haj except through the existing rotation system.

"If there are those who say to deposit money and provide your name, these are not correct, as calls on haj offers will be followed by a document, and not via WhatsApp application," he said.

Idris said this at a media conference after handing over tithe assistance under the Perak TH Prihatin 2021 programme to petty traders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, today.

He was referring to cheating activities involving offers to the holy land using the WhatsApp application that purportedly enabled prospective pilgrims or depositors to get their turn much faster without having to wait for a call from TH.

In this regard, Idris said prospective pilgrims and depositors should report the activities to the authorities to detect the numbers and identities of those perpetrating the fraud for further action, and a report can be lodged by calling the Tabung Haji Contact Centre (THCC) at 03-6207 1919.

Asked about the status of the TH Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), Idris said that a list of membership involving seven names had been decided and completed yesterday, to be submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, next Friday.

If approved, the RCI would not disrupt operations, as its existence is to investigate the issues arising on the management of the TH between 2014 and 2020, he said.

The setting up of the RCI, under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1950 (Act 119), was decided by the Cabinet in July, which was announced by Ismail Sabri, who was then the Deputy Prime Minister, to investigate issues arising related to TH.