24/05/2024 06:01 PM
From Noor Shamsiah Mohamed @ Ismail

MAKKAH, May 24 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Transport's proposal to set up a dedicated terminal for Haj and Umrah pilgrims in Kuala Lumpur is a further boon for Malaysians who already enjoy an array of facilities to perform the pilgrimage.

Head of the Malaysian Haj Delegation for 1445H/2024, Datuk Seri Syed Salleh Syed Abdul Rahman said Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) generally welcomed any effort to improve services for Malaysian Haj and Umrah pilgrims.

"We welcome this proposal as it further enhances the facilities already enjoyed by Malaysian Haj pilgrims since 2017, including the Makkah Route initiative, which allows pilgrims to undergo Saudi Arabian immigration checks in Malaysia itself.

"So far, no other country has such a dedicated terminal, and the Makkah Route convenience is currently available to only seven countries," he told the media at the TH Headquarters here today.

He made these remarks in response to a statement issued by Transport Minister Anthony Loke yesterday, suggesting that a dedicated terminal be set up for Haj and Umrah pilgrims in Kuala Lumpur.

Loke added that this initiative could streamline the flight process to Jeddah or other destinations in Saudi Arabia by allowing immigration clearance for Saudi Arabia to be completed in Kuala Lumpur before departing for the holy land. He hoped that the facility could also be extended to Umrah pilgrims throughout the year.

Syed Saleh said that the proposal was currently being carefully discussed by the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Tourism and TH, in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian government.

Malaysia was the first country to benefit from the Makkah Route facilities provided by the Saudi Arabian government, with the pilot project starting in 2017. This initiative was later extended to Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Turkey and Ivory Coast.

The Makkah Route Initiative enables pilgrims to complete their entry procedures to Saudi Arabia in their home countries' airports, and provides direct transfer to accommodation in Makkah and Madinah.

Meanwhile, a total of 53 flights to Jeddah will begin arriving at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah starting today, with the first flight arriving at 9:01 am (Saudi Arabian time).

"As of noon yesterday, 43 out of 100 special charter flights have departed from Malaysia, with 12,686 Haj pilgrims having arrived in the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah.

"Of these, 5,380 pilgrims are currently in Madinah, while 7,306 pilgrims are in Makkah. They are participating in various activities organised by TH to prepare for the Haj," he said.






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