Tabung Haji to send 340 haj workers to Saudi Arabia to assist in 2022 haj operations

SEPANG: A total of 340 haj workers will be deployed to Saudi Arabia to help facilitate the haj operations this year, Lembaga Tabung Haji haj executive director Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman said.

He said the workers selected this year were those who were highly experienced as there would be less workers this year compared to previous haj operations.

"The total of workers previously was 650 people but this time only 340 have been selected. Because of this, we decided to only select those who are highly experienced and can serve in Makkah and Madinah.

"It is true that we have chosen those who can multi-task and are able to be mobilised to any location based on the situation," he told reporters at the haj workers' send-off ceremony here on Monday (May 30).

Syed Saleh said a total of 84 workers including doctors, welfare officers and media practitioners left for Saudi Arabia on a Malaysia Airlines flight at 3.10pm on Monday.

"They are the second group of haj workers sent this year. Thirteen officers had departed previously to make preparations.

"All workers have made thorough preparations to provide services and facilities to the pilgrims, and to give their best," he said.

Asked about the challenges pilgrims could expect to face this year, he said workers and pilgrims need to be prepared for new laws introduced by the Saudi Arabian government such as any Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP).

Meanwhile, journalist Zalina Maizan Engah @ Ngah, who signed up for the haj operation under Tabung Haji, said she was excited after being chosen to cover the haj.

"I am grateful that the management has faith in me to cover the haj this year. I did not expect to be chosen especially with the strict medical examination," the 46-year-old Bernama TV assignment editor said.

The mother of four said she would do her best to report on the atmosphere of haj this year to provide Malaysians with a greater experience.

"And for those who were not chosen this year, I will try to also provide casual updates on social media, radio and my writings," she said.

Medical volunteer, Rosmawi Ismail, 47, said he would be responsible for the setting up of a special medical centre in Makkah to cater to pilgrims who might need medical treatment.

"Opening a medical centre is a normal procedure during the haj season. My hope is that the haj operation this year runs smoothly," the Health Ministry pharmacist said.

On May 24, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad said the first flight of Malaysian pilgrims this year was expected to be on June 4.

He also announced that Malaysia's haj quota for 2022 is 14,306, which was 45% of the annual quota normally received.

The quota of 14,306 was a drop from the 31,600 Malaysian pilgrims allowed to perform the fifth Pillar of Islam in 2019. - Bernama

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