PUTRAJAYA: Saudi Arabia today presented compensation to the families of seven Malaysian pilgrims who were killed when a crane collapsed onto the Grand Mosque in Mecca during the 2015 haj season.
The compensation of 1 million Saudi riyals (RM1.17 million) for each family of the victims is a personal contribution from King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Three Malaysian pilgrims who were injured in the incident also received compensation of 500,000 riyals (RM587,574) each.
The money was presented by the Saudi ambassador to Malaysia, Mahmoud Hussein Saeed Qattan, at a ceremony held at the Putrajaya Islamic Complex here.
Also present was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa, his deputy Fuziah Salleh and Tabung Haji CEO Nik Mohd Hasyudeed Yusoff.
Mujahid in his speech thanked King Salman.
“On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude particularly to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud for the empathy and attention given to the Malaysian pilgrims, especially the victims of the collapsed crane incident,” he said.
He said the incident was one of the most unfortunate tragedies for Malaysia, adding that it also affected the Saudi Arabian government.
On Sept 11, 2015, a crawler crane toppled over onto the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing 111 people and injuring over 230 others.
The victims of the incident, caused by strong winds and heavy rains, also included pilgrims from Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Egypt.
Following the incident, King Salman announced 1 million riyals as compensation to each family of those who died, and invited two relatives of each of the deceased to be his guests for haj in 2016.
Mujahid said the compensation money would be managed by Amanah Raya Berhad to ensure smooth distribution to all the deserving families and victims.
He said the Saudi government has also set up a top-level committee to scrutinise the names of victims involved in the incident, and decided that only three injured pilgrims from Malaysia are eligible for the compensation.
“Prior to this, we have tried, through negotiation, to get the compensation for all Malaysian pilgrims involved, but they decided to give it to only three who were severely injured. That is their decision, not ours,” he said.