DIY umrah contravenes Saudi law

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians have been reminded not to perform the umrah on their own or in a "do it yourself" (DIY) way as it is an offence under the law in Saudi Arabia.

Tourism and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the Saudi Arabian government had made it compulsory for all pilgrims to be registered with and managed by legitimate umrah operating companies which are known as muassasah.

"Tourists who are categorised as Free Independent Travellers (FIT) are not considered as umrah pilgrims.

"They can be arrested by the Saudi authorities because the DIY umrah is illegal under the law there," she told reporters before chairing a meeting of the Umrah Regulatory Council, here, today.

She said the ministry was aware of some people sharing on the social media, their experiences of performing DIY umrah which were cheaper than normal packages.

Mas Ermieyati said pilgrims must register with the muassasah who would look after them during their stay there, and could help them if they encountered problems.

She said the ministry was investigating two muassasah companies which had sold their licence to third parties.

"These companies had allowed third parties to use their systems to organise umrah packages and process the visas for pilgrims, but they themselves do not have any packages," she added. — Bernama