KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not be sending pilgrims for the 1442H haj season following the decision of the Saudi Arabian government to only allow the residents and citizens from within the kingdom to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Senator Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri in a statement today said the matter was due to the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic around the world.
“I received a phone call just now from Dr Abdelfattah Sulaiman Mashat, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Haj and Umrah, regarding the decision of the Saudi Arabian government on the involvement of pilgrims from foreign countries for the 1442H haj season.
“Therefore, on behalf of the Malaysian government, I would like to state that Malaysia will not send pilgrims for the 1442H haj season, abiding by and respecting the decision of the Saudi Arabian government which only allows haj to be performed by the residents and citizens from within the kingdom,” he said.
Zulkifli said the same information had been received by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein from his counterpart Prince Faisal Farhan Al Saud.
An official statement by the government of Saudi Arabia was also issued at 6.10pm, he said.
In this regard, Zulkifli said the Lembaga Tabung Haji would manage all the affairs of Malaysians who are already there and had been selected to perform the haj, in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by Saudi Arabia.
He also apologised to all prospective pilgrims who had to postpone their pilgrimage this year.
“Indeed, ‘hifz al-nafs’ (preserving life) is one of the principles of Maqasid Syariah that is always upheld by the Malaysian government in taking any decision,” he said.
Earlier, Haramain, in a tweet, said the number of haj pilgrims this year is limited to only 60,000 people for residents of all nationalities and citizens inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“In the light of what the world is witnessing with the continuing developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the emergence of new variations, Haj 1442 will be limited to the residents and citizens from within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia only - (60,000).
“The health status of those wishing to register for Haj 1442 must be from the following categories: a vaccinated person, a vaccinated person who has completed one dose and spent 14 days, or a vaccinated person recovering from the infection,“ it said. — Bernama