KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 9): The Pilgrims Fund Board (TH) stresses that it is not responsible for managing the furada visa because it is directly handled by tourism and minor haj agencies and individuals with the Saudi Arabian Embassy here.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusuf said that TH only handled 30,200 pilgrims and the haj visas which were officially obtain in accordance with the quota given by the Saudi Arabian government to Malaysia.
“Regarding tourism agencies, TH only manages recognised companies which have the Haj Pilgrims Organiser’s (HPO) licences. TH, too, is not allowed to manage furada haj pilgrims and those performing the haj through companies which do not have the HPO licences,” he said in a statement today.
A furada visa is a haj visa which is obtained by dealing directly with the Saudi Arabian Embassy and does not involve the haj quota of a country. It is normally issued at the last moments based on the vacancies available.
However, Mujahid clarified that in certain cases such as the 26 Malaysians who were stranded in Jeddah, TH, through its officers, still extended aid and looked after their welfare by providing food and drinks other than co-operating with the Saudi Arabians over the business of sending them home.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Furada Haj Consultation Centre director general Ahmad Tajuddin Idris Al-Manhaji urged Malaysian haj pilgrims who were offered furada visas to check the authenticity of their visas to avoid being cheated.
He said that the checks could be made via the online system belonging to the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry by only using their passports.
He said the early check was important to ensure that would-be-haj-pilgrims did not fall victims to visa touts or brokers taking advantage of the haj season.
On Tuesday, 26 Malaysian pilgrims were stranded at the Jeddah International Airport for having invalid furada haj visas, and had to be flown home.