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Saturday, 5 August 2017

More than 270 pilgrims are still stuck in the country due to visa issues. more than 14,000 are in the holy land already

TH: Visas approved at our level but not in Saudi Arabia’s system

image: http://thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/08/04/19/21/main_bl_0508_p014a_boblee_1.ashx/?w=620&h=413&crop=1&hash=49729A2E8D9D581B9EEDFB3D4C92AC76F2466CA4
Lebih 270 jemaah haji terkandas kerana masalah visa sejak Khamis malam. photo DR ASYRAF WAJDI DUSUKI face book
Lebih 270 jemaah haji terkandas kerana masalah visa sejak Khamis malam. photo DR ASYRAF WAJDI DUSUKI face book
 
PETALING JAYA: Stringent checks by the Saudi authorities have resulted in the delay of pilgrims heading to the holy land for their haj – and more than 270 pilgrims are still stuck in the country due to visa issues.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said 276 pilgrims were stranded and were placed by the Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) at the Grand BlueWave Hotel, Shah Alam, while others were housed in the Tabung Haji Complex, Kelana Jaya.
Asyraf however said the pro­blem was being resolved in stages since early yesterday morning.
“Many (visas) have been processed and (pilgrims) flown to Saudi Arabia before that, but some are still in process,” he said.
TH group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Johan Abdullah said the problems of 178 pilgrims have been resolved until now.
“There are problems with 51 others and it is being addressed,” he told reporters late yesterday.
Asyraf, via his Facebook posting on Thursday night, said he had a meeting with the stranded pilgrims at the Grand BlueWave Hotel.
Earlier, he said the issue of stranded pilgrims this year was due to the fact that while the visas were processed and approved at TH level, they were not in the Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry’s processing system.
He added that the Saudi Arabia government had additional stringent measures this year as it involved security issues in Makkah and Medina.
However, Asyraf said not all pilgrims were stranded due to visa issues, as some were supposed to travel with a mahram (a family member to accompany older, weaker pilgrims or young women).
“For example, if the husband has visa issues, TH will advise the wife to wait so they can fly together. That increases the number of pilgrims but not everyone is facing issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the TH Corporate Commu-nications Department said the number of stranded pilgrims was always changing as some visas were processed while some were in the processing stage.
“About 500 cases related to visa issues have been resolved. Since the first day (July 29), more than 14,000 Malaysian pilgrims are in the holy land,” he said, adding that TH would continue to ensure the smooth running of the haj pilgrimage process until the last flight on Aug 26.
“We hope all pilgrims will be patient and pray that all matters will be simplified. TH is doing its best for the pilgrims and is working closely with Saudi Arabia,” he said.
TH’s Corporate Communication Division said that pilgrims who want to obtain the latest status of their visa applications could refer to the operations room at Level 1, TH Complex in Kelana Jaya. It operates round-the-clock.
“To ensure the welfare of pilgrims, TH provides accommodation, meals and beverages at the TH Kelana Jaya Complex and nearby hotels.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/08/05/strict-checks-hold-up-over-270-pilgrims-th-visas-approved-at-our-level-but-not-in-saudi-arabias-syst/#stBZgga6qDffSAGd.99

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