KOTA BHARU (Bernama): The government has given an assurance that the subsidy for performing the haj will be maintained despite the possibility of increased costs in the future, says Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary.
However, he said the actual cost of performing the haj has yet to be decided.
Ahmad Marzuk said the possibility of a cost increase was quite reasonable based on the current situation, but believed the subsidy by the government would continue.
"In the past, the cost of the haj was about RM24,000, but the government only collected around RM9,980 (from pilgrims) and the rest was borne by the government.
"Now, costs are rising, especially in the post-pandemic period where spending abroad has also increased," he told reporters after handing over donation to new students of institutions of higher learning in the Pengkalan Chepa parliamentary constituency here on Saturday (Sept 18).
Ahmad Marzuk, who is also Pengkalan Chepa MP, said the government had allocated between RM400 and RM500mil for the haj subsidy, but now needed to re-look it due to the current situation.
"Usually, when the haj season is approaching, the actual costing will be announced and the pilgrims will be informed in advance.
"We also know that the cost of performing the haj has not been increased for a long time because of the government's ability and financial position at that time. However, now the economic situation has changed and expenditure in Saudi Arabia has increased," he added.
The costs related to the haj will be discussed and hopefully will not burden prospective haj pilgrims, he said. - Bernama