All ready to receive Malaysian haj pilgrims

12-Jul-2018 Intellasia | New Straits Times | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Haj services and accommodation for Malaysian pilgrims in Madinah are up and running, all ready to receive the first group arriving this Saturday. vice Consul of Malaysian haj affairs Affandi Abdullah said the first batch of 483 pilgrims flying out on an Airbus A380 will be landing at the Prince Mohammad Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah. They will be received and brought to the Madinah Movenpick Hotel. Affandi, who is also Tabung Haji operations director in Madinah, explained that 45 per cent of flights from Malaysia will land in Madinah while the rest will land in Jeddah with pilgrims then heading straight to Makkah. Madinah is considered the second most holiest place in Islam after Makkah. Pilgrims traditionally visit Madinah to pray at the Prophet’s Mosque or Masjid Nabawi, either before they begin the haj rituals or once they have completed it. While in Madinah, pilgrims can also embark on a tour of the many historic sites in the region.

“Pilgrims will stay in nine hotels in Madinah for this haj season. They can take in 9,661 pilgrims at any one time,” he told Malaysian media at the Tabung Haji office in Madinah. The hotels are grouped under three zones, with each zone providing the full suite of Tabung Haji services for pilgrims, including religious advice, medical, financial, postal, counselling and communications facilities. “Telekom Malaysia will be offering its iTalk service for pilgrims to be connected with family and friends in Malaysia. “We also have a new service for pilgrims this year. They can get prepaid SIM cards from service provider STC (Saudi Telecommunications Company) at kiosks within their hotels. They just need to produce their identification tags.” Affandi said the haj quota for this season was the same as last year at 30,200. The Saudi government set the quota based on a calculation of 0.1 per cent of the Malaysian population.

“Some 600 TH personnel will be involved in this year’s haj operations, with 187 stationed in Madinah and the rest in Jeddah and Makkah.” Many of then have arrived ahead of pilgrims and set up operations, including information technology support, medical centres, accommodation and transportation. A media team of print and broadcast outlets will also be reporting on this year’s haj season. Malaysian pilgrims will be among close to three million Muslims from around the world converging in Makkah for the haj this year. All able Muslims who can afford to do so are required to perform the haj at least once in his or her lifetime. Haj takes place from the 8th through the 12th day of Zulhijjah, the last month of the Islamic year. The 8th of Zulhijjah is expected to fall on August 20 this year.


Category: Malaysia

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