VISA DE­LAY SOLVED

178 of 229 pil­grims leave for Holy Land

New Straits Times - - News - JUNE MOH PETALING JAYA news@nst.com.my

ATOTAL of 178 out of 229 haj pil­grims, whose jour­ney was de­layed, due to a snag in ob­tain­ing their visa, have de­parted to the Holy Land yes­ter­day af­ter se­cur­ing the travel autho­ri­sa­tion.

Tabung Haji (TH) group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Seri Jo­han Ab­dul­lah said this was pos­si­ble af­ter the Saudi Ara­bian em­bassy in Malaysia in­creased its staff num­bers to process the pil­grims’ visa ap­pli­ca­tions around the clock.

“They are work­ing ev­ery day, in­clud­ing on week­ends, to process the visa ap­pli­ca­tions of those fly­ing to Mecca and Me­d­ina.”

He said this was thanks to Saudi Ara­bia’s am­bas­sador to Malaysia Datuk Fa­had Ab­dul­lah Al-Rashid.

He said the visa is­suance process for pil­grims was a highly-de­tailed process, with au­thor­i­ties hav­ing to scru­ti­nise each ap­pli­cant’s par­tic­u­lars, in­clud­ing their place of stay in Mecca and Me­d­ina.

“The de­lay is caused by a high num­ber of visa ap­pli­ca­tions world­wide sent by prospec­tive pil­grims to Saudi Ara­bian au­thor­i­ties. Our Haj quota has been re­stored to 30,200 this year; this is also one of the rea­sons for the de­lay.

He said 16,974 Malaysian pil­grims had ar­rived at the Holy Land as of 8am yes­ter­day.

“We have in­creased the flight ca­pac­ity of each char­tered flight from 278 pas­sen­gers (Boe­ing 777) to 420 pas­sen­gers (Air­bus 330) to ex­pe­dite their jour­ney to the Holy Land.”

He said 47 out of 110 sched­uled haj flights had de­parted for the Holy Land, adding that the last flight was sched­uled on Aug 26.

“TH has been in op­er­a­tion for 54 years and we have never failed in fa­cil­i­tat­ing the jour­ney of pil­grims to the Holy Land.”

He said a 24-hour in­for­ma­tion cen­tre had been set up at the TH Com­plex in Ke­lana Jaya to trans­mit the lat­est in­for­ma­tion to pil­grims.

For in­for­ma­tion, the pub­lic may call 0378736297 or 013-8068099.

Datuk Seri Jo­han Ab­dul­lah

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