KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 (Bernama) -- Claims of a haj cartel is baseless and untrue as any company can apply to be a licensed haj operator under Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH), TH Haj Executive Director Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman said.
Syed Saleh, who is also the Malaysian Haj pilgrimage leader, said any tour operator can apply and applicants would be chosen yearly after meeting set conditions.
"This system has been used since 2000 and improved periodically and was last updated this year,” he said in a statement today.
He said the selection criteria was aimed to ensure local tour operators had good capacity and were capable of providing the best service, including taking good care of the welfare of Malaysian pilgrims.
TH chose two new operators this year, Az Zuha Group Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd and Mimm Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd, to manage haj pilgrimages, he added.
Syed Saleh said applications were open years and closed on 1 Ramadan. For applications for the 1444H/2023 season, applications were closed on 1 Ramadan 1443H/April 2, 2022. Applications for the 1445H/2024 season will be closed on 1 Ramadan 1444H.
He said applicants were required to fulfil 10 conditions, including having at least three consecutive years’ experience of managing umrah services; Bank Negara Malaysia records via the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) that contained information such as the finances of company directors, shareholders and individuals in the company’s management.
In addition, applicants must have experienced management and employees; clean audit reports for the last two years and last three years’ audited financial reports. Other conditions include having at least RM500,000 paid up capital, positive shareholder funds, official Malaysian Insolvency Department findings that the company and individuals are not bankrupt, umrah assessment approval by the TH office in Saudi Arabia and no current court cases.
Syed Saleh said TH issued 22 licenses to local tour operators on Feb 22 this year, and the companies went through a detailed screening and selection process to operate as licensed haj operators for the 1443H/2022 haj season.
He urged the public, especially prospective pilgroms, to use only the licensed haj package service provided by TH and to refer to the list of haj operators on the TH website at www.tabunghaji.gov.my.