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Published: Tuesday September 11, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday June 1, 2013 MYT 10:48:23 PM

13 M’sians deported for abusing Umrah visa

SEPANG: A group of 13 Malaysians including a girl, aged 12, were deported from Saudi Arabia Tuesday for overstaying after performing the Umrah (minor haj to the holy land).

They were part of a group of 300 Malaysians who obtained their visas to perform the Umrah through packages offered by Destinasia Travels Sdn Bhd, and had left for Saudi Arabia in stages since July.

Destinasia manager Muhd Norzi Md Ghazali said investigations revealed the 13 wanted to stay in Saudi Arabia, for about five years, to study.

"Their action has brought difficulties for us in terms of time, energy and also money. We will lodge a report with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)," he said when met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here.

The group of nine men and three women, aged between 30 and 70, and the girl, arrived at KLIA at 1.30pm, but refused to give any comment when approached by pressmen.

Muhd Norzi also said only about 70 of the 300 Malaysians followed the schedule in the packages.

The rest created several problems like not sticking to schedules or not staying at stipulated accommodation.

Nevertheless, he said, the group of 13 was the last group of the 300 Malaysians, who had to be hunted down, after their visas expired on Aug 3, and detained for deportation.

Muhd Norzi said, according to normal practice, a visa would only be given out after an applicant had obtained a two-way ticket, and had stipulated accommodation, with his passport retained by the muasassah (agency responsible for the Umrah) upon his arrival in Saudi Arabia.

However, he said, many of the pilgrims changed their flight dates, refused to stay at accommodation provided, in the hope of staying longer in Saudi Arabia, or performing the haj or studying there. - Bernama

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