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Pilgrims keeping social distance perform their Umrah at the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2021. — Reuters pic
Pilgrims keeping social distance perform their Umrah at the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2021. — Reuters pic

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PUTRAJAYA, Aug 20 ― The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) has denied an allegation that it had fixed the floor price for umrah packages at between RM8,000 and RM9,000.

In a statement today, Motac said the claim by Selangor Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (Saffta) chairman Dr Fathir Badri that the ministry had set the floor price of umrah packages was not true and could mislead the public.

“The ministry denies any form of announcement regarding the price indicator for umrah or pilgrimage as mentioned.

“For the record, the price list was decided in 2016 as agreed upon by the Umrah Regulatory Council and it was fixed at the price of RM4,900,” it said.

Fathir was reported as saying that the estimated floor price for umrah packages could reach between RM8,000 and RM9,000, taking into consideration the prevailing cost after the Covid-19 pandemic as compared with the floor price fixed by Motac before the pandemic.

Motac said it was still studying factors that could result in a price increase following the steps to be taken by the Saudi Arabian and Malaysian governments to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The ministry is appealing to all to stop any attempt to manipulate the markets, especially those involving the umrah and pilgrimage service packages,” said Motac, adding that the public should be cautious of suspicious umrah and pilgrimage packages being offered in the interim period.

Motac also said licensed umrah providers would be allowed to begin promoting their packages in accordance with the resolution and government’s effort in kick-starting the economy.

The relaxation is given to prepare the industry towards the reopening of borders under Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan for industry players to evaluate and be prepared with the number of pilgrims applying to do their umrah in the near future.

The parametre which was set for the interim phase among others is to allow promotional activities without any payment and not obligatory to all parties until the government announces the opening date of borders and travelling process in the implementation of umrah is allowed again for Malaysian citizens.

“The ministry believes that any form of collections or payments for the umrah service packages or pilgrimage at the moment is not appropriate because there is an element of uncertainty in terms of delivery, especially regarding the duration of the journey and actual services to be received by the pilgrims,” it added.

The ministry welcomes the participation of all parties in the onlilne public consultation process regarding the Umrah and Pilgrimage Packages Approval Guidelines at the unified public consultation platform at www.upc.mpc.gov.my to ensure that all promotional packages do not have any elements of fraud and would not mislead the public.

Applications can be made by emailing to umrah@motac.gov.my based on the conditions and parameters set. ― Bernama

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