6 March 2023
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry plans to make it compulsory for every umrah agency to prepare an agreement with prospective pilgrims, in an effort to protect consumer rights.
Its Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (pic) said the agreement, among other things, will state the terms and conditions, the schedule and the package offered, as well as provisions on damages in the event of misconduct, either by the umrah agency or pilgrims.
“It is in line with Regulation 6(1A)(d) under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 (Act 482),” he said in his reply to a question from Hassan Abdul Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang) regarding the measures taken by the government to address the increase in the cost of performing umrah in Saudi Arabia, during an oral and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today (March 6).
Tiong also said the ministry views the issue of the increase in the cost of umrah seriously, as it involves the cost of accommodation, logistics and flight tickets, which is alleged to have occurred due to high demand from pilgrims around the world.
He said the ministry held a meeting with the Foreign Ministry, Transport Ministry, Department of Waqf, Zakat and Haj, Malaysian Aviation Commission, Malaysia Competition Commission, Malaysia Airlines and AMAL by Malaysia Airlines, on Jan 31.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the umrah operator associations, namely the Malaysian Bumiputra Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents and the Malaysian Umrah and Haj Travel Agency Association.
“Based on the meeting, the ministry, the Transport Ministry and AMAL by Malaysia Airlines will hold further discussions, to identify a strategy to standardise the distribution of air ticket sales to minimise the increase in the cost of umrah flights,” he said.
He said that this, indirectly, will give space to umrah agencies to get more competitive flight ticket prices to be offered to pilgrims. – Bernama
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