Pilgrims’ umrah plans wrecked by travel agency

JOHOR BARU: An engineer had to fork out another RM11,980 to perform the umrah (minor pilgrimage) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia with his wife after being cheated by a travel agency.

Kamarul Amran Kamarudin, 46, said their plans to perform the umrah were scuttled by an unscrupulous travel agency based in Kota Tinggi.

He had booked a two-week package for himself and his wife for RM14,844.

Kamarul deposited RM6,990 into the company’s account on March 27 last year, followed by RM6,990 on March 28 and RM864 for the visa fee and bus fare on Nov 11.

The couple, along with 46 other pilgrims, were supposed to leave for Mecca from KLIA on Dec 4.

“We sensed something was not right when the agency failed to update us on our itinerary, ” he said when met at the Johor Baru Consumer Claims Tribunal in Menara Ansar here.

Kamarul said the agency only informed them the trip was cancelled on Dec 1, stating “unforeseen circumstances” without giving details.

“I filed a case with the Tribunal after I found out that many others had been cheated by the same company, ” he said.

Tribunal president Norsiah Ujang ordered the company to return RM14,844 to Kamarul within two weeks.

Also filing a case against the same company were sales executive Juhana Buyong and her husband who were part of the group of pilgrims scheduled to leave on Dec 4.

The claimant had deposited RM14,844 into the company’s account in March last year.

“In the end, our hopes of performing the umrah for the first time were dashed, ” said Juhana.

She said their passports were returned on Dec 3 and she later found out the company’s office in Kota Tinggi had closed on Nov 28.

Norsiah ordered the company to return RM14,844 to Juhana within 14 days.

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