Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said Muslims in Sabah also need to be patient and understand the difficulties faced by the Saudi Arabia government which has to limit the number of pilgrims and implement various procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. — Bernama pic
KOTA KINABALU, April 22 — Muslims in Malaysia especially in Sabah are urged to understand the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic which have affected the cost and quota for performing the Haj pilgrimage.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said Muslims in Sabah also need to be patient and understand the difficulties faced by the Saudi Arabia government which has to limit the number of pilgrims and implement various procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“Of course, we (Malaysia) used to get 30,000 for Haj quota but given the current situation, prospective pilgrims must realise that control measures need to be carried out in the Holy Land. However, we hope that Sabah will get a good quota this year.
“As the quota given was only that much, I hope the government and TH (Lembaga Tabung Haji) will distribute the quota fairly to all states,” he told reporters here today.
Hajiji said the state government through the Sabah Special Functions Minister’s Office will collaborate with relevant agencies, especially TH, in ensuring that Sabah Haj pilgrims would be able to perform the pilgrimage smoothly.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad said only 14,306 Malaysian pilgrims are allowed to perform Haj this year, a mere 45 per cent of the normal quota of Malaysian pilgrims given by Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, TH today announced that the cost to perform Haj for muassasah pilgrims from the B40 group is now set at RM10,980 per person, while for those from the non-B40 group, RM12,980 per person, as the actual cost has increased to RM25,540 per person this year.
Pensioner Muhd Shafiee Rapi, 61, said the cost increase was already expected, but what was more important is that the quota is still there.
The former cameraman of a television station said Malaysian pilgrims also must be grateful because although the cost of performing Haj increased, the government through TH still provided assistance by bearing part of the cost.
Former teacher Renawati Azelan, 66, said the increase in Haj cost of between RM1,000 and RM3,000 per person was considered low and not too burdensome, especially for the B40 group who will perform the pilgrimage this year.
“I thought the cost will be much higher considering the increase in tax, visa charges and others. However, I hope the B40 group will be given priority when the cost is still low. We don’t know what the cost will be in the future,” she said. — Bernama