‘Umrah SOP to be finalised after other agencies weigh in’

PUTRAJAYA: The new and improved standard operating procedure for umrah (pilgrimage) will be finalised after being scrutinised by several relevant agencies, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She said this included quarantine orders for pilgrims, elaborating that the relevant agencies included the Health Ministry, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and the Finance Ministry, as quarantine matters were not under her ministry’s purview.

“The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry has prepared the SOP, but we still need some input from other agencies such as the Health Ministry,” she told reporters after a presentation of Malaysian traditional costumes under the Cultural Diplomacy Programme here.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet decided to allow Muslims to resume pilgrimages from Feb 8 after umrah travel was suspended from Jan 8 following the increase in Covid-19 Omicron variant cases.

On the compensation claimed by pilgrims affected by the suspension, Nancy said her ministry was in the midst of discussing the compensation payment mechanism with Tabung Haji.

Earlier in her speech at the event, Nancy said the cultural diplomacy programme to empower national arts, culture and heritage activities was jointly organised by her ministry and the Foreign Ministry to promote local culture at all Malaysian embassies.

She said five sets of Malaysian traditional costumes would be presented to 10 Malaysian embassies and high commissions, including those in Paris, London, Bangkok, Tokyo and Beijing.

“We have high hopes that the cultural diplomacy programme Besar will (help) our envoys overseas promote Malaysian culture.

“It can also strengthen cultural ties between Malaysia and other countries,” she added. — Bernama

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