Authorities crack down on visa misuse for haj

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry will immediately revoke the licences of travel agencies found to be misusing tourist and umrah visas for haj purposes, says its minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

He said the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Roslan Abdul Rahman had been instructed to investigate the incident of prospective haj pilgrims being stranded in Mecca.

“Tourism Malaysia is currently probing the matter. We await a report from them, and if necessary, we will dispatch officials from the headquarters,” he said yesterday, reported Bernama.

There have been media reports about 300 prospective pilgrims from Malaysia being stranded in Mecca, believed to have been scammed by a tour agency offering cheap packages using tourist visas.

Tiong said initial findings suggested that the affected pilgrims were informed that their tourist visas could be converted to umrah or haj visas, adding that umrah pilgrims must caution against overstaying or performing the haj without a valid permit.

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