The Prime Minister said Malaysian pilgrims were among the luckiest compared to other countries as Tabung Haji helped arranged and managed haj pilgrims to Mecca throughout the entire pilgrimage process.
"Previously before there was Tabung Haji, the pilgrimage process was long and hard, as some were forced to take the boat for months and there were no proper place to stay when they arrived at the holy land.
"I believe that is not an easy task as such affairs would require detailed preparations at all levels including ensuring the needs of the pilgrims prior to flying, welfare in the holy land until they return home," he said in his speech at the sending-off ceremony at Dewan Mentari, Movenpick Hotel & Convention Centre here.
The ceremony saw a total of 483 pilgrims departing for the Holy Land.
Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia felt proud thanks to the efforts carried out by Tabung Haji, after it received recognition and praise from the Saudi government and other Muslim countries.
"I hope Tabung Haji will continue to be committed in its way forward through various measures to improve its services, including for the haj operation, savings as well as investments, to ensure it remains at the very best and become an example to other Muslim nations," said the Prime Minister.
He also advised pilgrims to look after their health as the haj pilgrimage requires a strong physical and emotional strength.
"During the haj season, millions of Muslims from various countries gather in the Holy Land, where the weather is hot.
"All of you will go back and forth to the mosque, apart from performing the tawaf, saie, the stoning ritual and other sunat prayers. For this, a healthy and active body is needed," Dr Mahathir said.
The tawaf is an act of circling the Kaabah seven times in a counter clockwise direction, and the saie, walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah beside the Kaabah.
"I hope that at the Holy Land, please pray that Malaysia will continue to be a peaceful and prosperous country.