Special umrah licence from Oct 1

KUALA LUMPUR: Effective Oct 1 this year, only tourism agencies with special umrah licence issued by the Tourism and Culture Ministry will be allowed to handle umrah packages.

Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general (Tourism) Nor Hayati Awang said this was to enable the authorities to monitor comprehensively the tourism agencies concerned and curb the occurrence of umrah package scams.

"Only companies owned by Muslims can operate umrah packages. Currently, we do not have a special licence for that. The licence is important to prevents the public from being cheated," she told reporters during an awareness campaign on umrah/ziarah scams and consumer rights here today.

Nor Hayati said based on the ministry's records, there were about 500 companies actively handling umrah packages, with 96 cases of umrah package scam were reported from 2012 until July this year.

Meanwhile, based on the statistics by the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK), there were 3,656 cases , involving claims totalling RM22.615 million reported with the Consumer Claims Tribunal, whereas, the Royal Malaysian Police also recorded 281 cases of umrah/haji package scams with losses amounting to RM10.771 million. — Bernama