Pilgrims allowed to defer haj pilgrimage, says Jamil Khir
KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — A pilgrim may defer or cancel his haj pilgrimage due to illness, death or pressing family matters, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.
He said they would be given priority for haj pilgrimage the following year, but not necessarily automatically chosen.
“Other reasons given by pilgrims to forgo the pilgrimage include death of a spouse, wife refuses to come along, group travel cancelled due to deaths of pilgrims, children sitting for examinations or merely cancelling the worship,” he told reporters after attending a dialogue with Lembaga Tabung Haji employees here today.
Commenting on PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man’s call to party members involved in the general election to forgo their haj pilgrimage this year, Jamil Khir said, “I do not want to quarrel over the haj pilgrimage. I do not see it from just one angle.”
Tuan Ibrahim had reportedly said in a posting on selangorku.com on June 5 that it was necessary for those involved in the general election to defer their pilgrimage because PAS needed its election machinery to carry out its tasks.
He reportedly said the party had monitored developments in the country and gathered that the general election would be held during the haj season which runs between Aidilfitri and Aidiladha.
Jamil Khir said sick pilgrims, who postponed the pilgrimage, should update Tabung Haji on the status of their health to enable them to be considered for the following year’s pilgrimage.
However, he said the pilgrimage would go on regardless of the number of pilgrims, who decided to defer their worship, as there is a large number of people on the waiting list.
The first flight to the Holy Land will depart on September 17 while the last return flight is expected to arrive on November 30, he added.
In Kota Baru, Political Secretary to the Prime Minister Datuk Mohd Fatmi Che Salleh described Tuan Ibrahim’s call as outrageous.
Mohd Fatmi said he believed the majority of PAS members would not agree with the proposal as the pilgrimage was uppermost in their minds.
“Do not allow politics to stop those who want to perform the pilgrimage. How does PAS know the coming general election will be held during the pilgrimage?
“The call is sensitive as pilgrimage to the Holy Land is to answer God’s call,” he told reporters after meeting Chinese non-governmental organisations here, today.
Mohd Fatmi said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would definitely keep the haj pilgrimage in mind when determining the date of the general election. — Bernama