TEMERLOH: Pilgrims should not fall for umrah packages that seem too good to be true.
State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said lack of knowledge and informations on umrah packages resulted in pilgrims to Mecca being cheated by agents or individuals.
Mohd Sharkar said there are many unlicensed companies and travel agents offering unreasonably cheap umrah and tour packages to the public.
“The public are advised not to fall easily for the cheap umrah and tour packages offered by these agents, but instead verify whether they are licensed or not.”
Firstly, no umrah package should cost less than RM5,000 per person,’’ said Mohd Sharkar, adding that any special offers costing less than that amount would not be credible.
He said they should also check the background of those offering the packages.
“Some are easily influenced when individuals promote the packages in the mosque or surau.
“The Tourism and Culture Ministry has received numerous complaints and many police reports have been lodged about such cases.
“Some end up spending much more and others could not even perform the umrah after they were cheated,” Mohd Sharkar said after launching a state-level awareness campaign on umrah packages at a hotel here.
He urged pligrims to only join packages organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry’s authorised travel agents and no one else.
He said they should visit the Ministry’s website on umrah packages for the list of licenced and authorised agents and companies.
“Companies which have been blacklisted are also in the list,” he said.
Mohd Sharkar added so far, there have been no cheating cases of umrah packages in Pahang.
Currently there are 59 travel agents including 14 travel companies in Pahang, which were given the licence and authorised to bring pilgrims for umrah purposes to Mecca while 24 travel companies have been blacklisted.
Umrah is a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia which can be performed by Muslims any time of the year.
Unlike the Haj, performing umrah is not compulsory but Muslims are highly recommended to undertake it.