Covid-19: Malaysia ready to allow umrah, says religious affairs minister

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

PARIT, Aug 5 — There is no problem to allow Malaysian pilgrims to perform the minor haj (umrah) but it depends on the current Covid-19 situation in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said the ministry lauded all the decisions to be implemented by Saudi Arabia but prioritised more on the benefits and in terms of health.

“So, if everything is okay, I feel there is no problem, but currently in a situation where we are still proceeding with caution, it is crucial that we take measures in controlling the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

He said this after handing over contributions amounting to RM25,000 from the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and Islamic Propagation Foundation of Malaysia (Yadim) to Maahad Tahfiz Al-Quran Masjid Lama, Kampung Lambor Kanan, here, today, which was razed recently.

Zulkifli was commenting on the Saudi Arabian media “Saudi Gazette’s” report that the Saudi Arabian Haj and Umrah Ministry was mulling the reopening of Makkah for umrah.

He also did not rule out the possibility of an increase in costs in performing the umrah taking into account improvements in terms of security and health due to Covid-19.

This was because the additional costs in performing the umrah for Malaysian, if they were permitted to do so, would also take into account the cost of Covid-19 screening and other additional costs which would be detailed out later, he said.

“Based on the current situation, like there were such rules when we returned home to our villages for raya, so it is not weird if a hike in costs takes place (for umrah).

“But I am more concerned from the angle of health security and compliance with the appropriate standard operation procedure (SOP) to avoid Covid-19,” he added.