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Ministry: Doing ‘DIY umrah’ in Saudi can get you arrested

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians have been reminded not to perform the umrah on their own or “do it yourself” (DIY) umrah as it is an offence in Saudi Arabia.

Tourism and Culture Deputy Minis­­ter Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the Saudi Arabian government had made it compulsory for all pilgrims to be registered with and managed by legitimate umrah operating companies, which are known as muassasah.

“Tourists who are categorised as free independent travellers are not considered umrah pilgrims.

“They can be arrested by the Saudi authorities because DIY um­­rah is illegal under the law there,” Mas Ermieyati told reporters here yesterday.

She added that the ministry was aware of some people sharing on social media their experiences of performing DIY umrah, which is cheaper than normal packages.

Mas Ermieyati said pilgrims must register with the muassasah, who would look after them during their stay there and could help them if they encountered problems.

“The ministry is also investiga­ting two muassasah companies which sold their licence to third parties.

“These companies had allowed third parties to use their systems to organise umrah packages and process the visas for pilgrims, but they themselves did not have any packages,” she added. — Bernama

umrah , Saudi Arabia