Government agency may monitor umrah packages

Dec 17, 2017
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. – MO file pic by Azrol Ali.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is considering umrah packages offered by the private sector be monitored by a government agency so as to protect the public from being duped by irresponsible parties, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

A special meeting will be called soon to discuss the matter, Ahmad Zahid who is chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Tourism, said.

This follows the cancellation of the Integrated Manasik Monitoring System (IMAMS) to manage umrah visas a day after its launch on Friday.

“I discussed it with the Minister of Tourism and Culture (Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz) today and welcome the cancellation of the system because the government does not want the private sector to impose charges which will burden those going for the umrah,” he said.

Zahid was speaking at a press conference held after launching the 42nd Annual General Assembly of the Malaysian Drug Prevention Association (Pemadam) here today.

The system was cancelled following public outcry as it was seen as leading to increased cost for umrah pilgrims.

Asked if the Cabinet had been informed about the IMAM system before this, Ahmad Zahid said it had only been told about a mechanism to manage umrah packages by private companies, but it was not told that the mechanism would be outsourced to another party.

“The Cabinet was informed that under the system, the companies handling umrah packages would be registered, regulations drawn up and there would be ways to monitor the situation so that pilgrims are not duped.

“But it does not in any way involve the appointment of any company to handle the monitoring system, what more that it is outsourced,” he said, adding that the cancellation of the system was not a political gimmick for the coming 14th general election. –Bernama