PETALING JAYA: The tourism, arts and culture ministry will vet travel agencies offering umrah packages following multiple reports of pilgrims being duped.
In a statement, minister Tiong King Sing revealed that the licences of several travel agencies were revoked after they were found to have cheated their customers, including failing to provide the services promised.
However, despite this, the ministry is still receiving complaints.
“Some pilgrims were not taken to their destinations and they were also not provided the services promised by these agencies.
“They were also unable to contact the agencies when they arrived in Saudi Arabia.”
Tiong said his deputy, Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, would lead a task force to review the operations of the travel agencies.
The task force is expected to submit a full report on the matter in a month’s time.
The report will identify travel agencies that are not being operated professionally.
Tiong said all travel agencies were required to provide a report to the ministry on the itinerary of their customers throughout their umrah trip.
“This is to ensure that my ministry can ascertain that everything promised to their customers (in the travel package) is fulfilled.”
Tiong added that he would meet with the Saudi ambassador to Malaysia and the Saudi haj and umrah minister to discuss Malaysia’s quota.
There had been multiple reports of prospective pilgrims being duped by travel agencies in the past few years, with numerous police reports lodged by victims who claimed losses amounting to millions.
In August 2022, the director of a travel agency was charged at the sessions court with advertising haj package services using the furada visa (private haj visa) without a valid licence from Lembaga Tabung Haji.