8 February 2022
Umrah pilgrims began departing for the holy land of Mekah today after pilgrimages were suspended in January due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Checks at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) showed scores of pilgrims preparing to board their flights.
Shuod Atoh, 64, an imam from the Masjid Kampung Kuala Abai Seberang in Kota Belud, Sabah, expressed relief and gratitude at finally being to perform his umrah, which had been delayed numerous times since 2019.
He said he had registered for the pilgrimage three years ago. His trip had been postponed four times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions placed by the Saudi government.
He said the resumption of flights to Saudi Arabia spelt good news for him and other pilgrims, who are now able to fulfil their religious duties.
“I will abide by the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) at the holy land. I hope that I will be able to perform umrah safely, protected from the Covid-19 virus,” he said.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had in early January announced the decision to postpone umrah travels due to the presence of the Omicron variant, affecting some 10,000 pilgrims.
Single mother Nurul Aishah Idris, 53, from Kampung Changkat Dermawan in Tapah, Perak was elated at finally being able to perform her umrah.
Her pilgrimage had been postponed three times since 2020.
She said she was fortunate as the agency she selected did not impose any extra charges for the postponements.
She said she was complying to the SOP set by the Health Ministry and the Saudi government, including taking the booster dose to improve protection against the virus.
“As we are still in a pandemic, I will take precautionary steps and abide by the SOP,” said Nur Aishah, who was accompanied by her three daughters for the trip.
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