SEPANG, Nov 1 — Malaysia continues to be held in high esteem for the efficient management of its Haj pilgrims each year, that some European and Arican countries, the United States and Canada are keen to learn the system used by Lembaga Tabung Haji (Tabung Haji) or Pilgrim Fund Board.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said this was expressed by the representatives of these countries at a reception organised by the Saudi Arabian government on the second day of Aidiladha last week.
“It so happened that this year, there were Haj pilgrims from these countries who were with us.
“They wanted to have a closer look at the approach used by Tabung Haji, which is more systematic,” he told reporters today upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, here, from the Holy Land.
He said the Saudi Arabian government, meanwhile, continued to regard highly the Malaysian government’s efforts to the extent that Malaysian Haj pilgrims enjoyed a lot of benefits.
On a related development, Jamil Khir said there were less ill Malaysian Haj pilgrims admitted to the hospital owned by Tabung Haji or those owned by Saudi Arabia, at 132 this time compared to over 200 in previous years.
“Out of the number, 117 were admitted to Tabung Haji Hospital and the rest to Saudi Arabia’s hospitals as they required intensive treatment and more sophisticated medical equipment available at the latter to treat diseases like heart disease.”
He said to date, 31 Malaysian Haj pilgrims were reported to have died.
Meanwhile, the first group comprising 320 Malaysian Haj pilgrims is expected to arrive at KLIA at about 9.15 tonight on a Saudi Airlines flight.
Jamil Khir said 77 chartered flights would be departing from Jeddah to KLIA, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Kuala Terengganu.
He said the last flight back was expected to arrive on Nov 29 if all the flights bringing home the pilgrims departed according to the schedule set. — Bernama