KUALA LUMPUR – Minister at Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri apologised to all hajj congregation for not being able to perform their hajj this year.
He said, the Government of Malaysia has arranged all preparations since last year according to the regulation set by Saudi Arabia.
“I apologise on behalf of the Malaysian Government for not being able to send the congregation to Makkah this year.
“We have stated our readiness to send the pilgrims right from the beginning. After what happened last year, our country made a more intensive preparation this year.
“In these four weeks alone, we conduct frequent meetings for hajj,” he said during the OWH!MG programme produced by MalaysiaGazette.
He said, among the content of the meeting were the quota of pilgrims, necessities, health and things needed by the pilgrims.
“If the Saudi Arabia says 20,000 or 10,000 or even just five pilgrims, we will oblige, as long as we can go there.
“However, recently, I received a call from the Hajj Ministry of Saudi Arabia and they said that they cannot accept foreign pilgrims due to Covid-19.
“This is a tough decision to deliver to the public,” he said.
He added, although it is a disheartening news, the hajj congregation in Malaysia accept the news well.
“This is a heavy decision. I thank our friends from the agencies and media who deliver the news so that the pilgrims can accept the news calmly.
“I also wish to be with our pilgrims and go there to further glorify Islam.
“What can we do. This is the world. This is the pandemic,” he said.
Elaborating further, Zulkifli said, last year, Malaysia had to use muzakarah and the National Fatwa Council as they could not send the pilgrims for hajj.
“We didn’t know what to do during that time, but after studying everything, as what I explained earlier, Malaysia is ready.
“It’s alright, if there is an opportunity, perhaps, we can go there next year under the new normal,” he said.
Recently, Saudi Arabia announced that the number of hajj pilgrims this year will be limited to 60,000 people for the Saudi Arabian citizens and existing foreigners in the country.
This is the second year when hajj is performed during the Covid-19 pandemic. -MalaysiaGazette