Increase in 2024 Haj cost this year justified, reasonable, says Malaysian Deputy Minister

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Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Zulkifli Hasan delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of an introductory Haj course at the Paroi Jaya Mosque in Seremban January 21, 2024. — Bernama pic

The increase in the cost to perform Haj this year is attributed to factors such as currency exchange rates, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Value Added Tax (VAT), according to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Zulkifli Hasan.

However, he stressed that the rise in the cost is justified and still reasonable due to the escalating expenses borne by Tabung Haji (TH).

“Looking at the global economic developments, we have to increase the cost, but TH and the government are trying to ensure that pilgrims are not burdened by the expenses while also providing substantial financial assistance to the pilgrims this year,” he said to reporters after officiating the closing ceremony of an introductory Haj course at the Paroi Jaya Mosque here today.

He said 63 per cent and 42 per cent of the total Haj cost for pilgrims from the B40 and M40 groups, respectively, is covered by the government in addition to RM1,000 financial aid provided to the B40 pilgrims.

“This reflects how the government and TH have made efforts to lighten the burden on the pilgrims this year,” he added.

On Friday, TH announced that the Haj cost for a prospective Muassasah pilgrim this year is set at RM33,300 compared to RM30,850 last year.

The group managing director and chief executive officer, Syed Hamadah Syed Othman, explained that the cost for first-time pilgrims from the B40 and M40 groups is RM12,356 and RM19,152, respectively. In contrast, those under the T20 group will be charged the total cost of RM33,300 per person.

Meanwhile, Hamidah Payun, 61, who is set to perform the Haj this year, said the decision to increase the cost is reasonable considering the rising expenses.

Hamidah has been saving with TH since 2008, thanks to the monthly contribution from her husband.

A retiree, Zulkifli Dahlan, 60, said the increase was expected because the cost of performing the Umrah pilgrimage has also risen recently.

“Previously, I went for Umrah in 2019, the cost was RM6,000, and then I went again last year, and it had increased to RM8,500. So, it’s not an issue as cost increases are bound to happen,” he said. — Bernama