Malaysia postpones sending haj pilgrims this year

The decision on the matter was made after receiving the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Riayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

Malaysia will not send pilgrims for the haj season this year. Reuters | Astro Awani
Malaysia will not send pilgrims for the haj season this year, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.

He said the decision on the matter was made after receiving the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

“Based on the briefings by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH), Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) and the Special Muzakarah Committee Meeting of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs, held on June 9, the Haj pilgrimage for the 1441H Haj pilgrimage season has been postponed.

“This had been a difficult decision as we know performing the Haj is of great importance to Muslims,” he told a press conference here today.

Zulkifli said the ‘syarak’ has stated that doing things that can cause damage or harm must first be avoided before doing good deeds provided that the ‘’maslahah’ (benefit) derived is far less than the damage that is likely to occur.

Zulkifli said so far, there is no vaccine yet available to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that has claimed many lives worldwide.

“Performing the Haj pilgrimage which is the fifth pillar of Islam is closely linked to the concept of ‘istito’ah’ or the capability of performing the the pilgrimage in terms of health, safety, permission to travel to the Holy Land as well as finance.

“Without the capability in the matters mentioned, it is not obligatory to perform the pilgrimage,” he said.

Zulkifli said he had also submitted an official letter about the suspension to Saudi ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Dr Mahmoud Hussien Saeed Qattan which would be presented to Saudi Arabia Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Banten.

Malaysia is among the countries that have suspended the sending of their Haj pilgrims besides Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Brunei.

“I hope all pilgrims will be patient and accept this decision,” he said.

Zulkifli said TH would issue an official statement and a list of frequently-asked questions regarding the postponement of the 1441H Haj pilgrimage.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Saudi Arabian government that has been working hard to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the Holy Land of Makkah and Madinah.

On whether Malaysia will see the increase in its Haj quota for next year following the postponement of haj pilgrimage for this season, he said the matter would depend on the decision by the Saudi Arabian government.

“InsyaAllah, we will visit Saudi Arabia after the COVID-19 situation subsides to discuss the matter,” he added.

Zulkifli said all Malaysian pilgrims with Furada visa (a haj visa that is obtained by dealing directly with the Saudi Arabian Embassy) are also not allowed to perform the pilgrimage for this year.

Asked on whether the postponement would affect the turn of those selected to perform the haj this season, he said this year's haj pilgrims will be given priority next year.

For this year’s successful Haj appeal applicants, they must re-appeal for next year, he added.

-- BERNAMA