Government should take action against Umrah ‘phantom agents’ that tarnish the image of registered agents

SHAH ALAM, 11 Sept: The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) of Selangor objected to the decision of the Ministry of Tourism regarding the handling of latest ‘Umrah Packages’.

The Chairman of MATTA Selangor, Datuk Helmi Daud, said that the decision is unfair to accredited agents with the ‘Outbound’ licence.

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He said that although agents do not directly deal with Muhasasah in Saudi Arabia, the business still goes on according to the prescribed procedures.

“As we all know, to obtain the Muhasasah services directly, agents have to have the BSP with the payment of the prescribed deposit.

“Muhasasah also has a prerequisite on the certain number of visas and are bound with an agreement which is not agreed by many agents because it is complicated and is at a high cost.

“While registered agents are able to obtain visas through Muhasasah links, they are at a much lower cost while not ignoring interests and the welfare of the congregation taken there,” he said during a press conference today.

Recently, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, announced the establishment of the Regulatory Umrah Council (MKSU) by setting the lowest price for a standard Umrah package at RM4,900.

The effort, Nazri said, was to tackle fake Umrah packages that have been around for a long time with the latest fraud involving Umrah packages with 121 Malaysian pilgrims being stranded in Madinah on June 1.

However, Helmi said that actually, the fraud happened due to the existence of phantom agents who are not registered and agents who do not have the ‘outbound’ licence.

“Their actions tarnish the good reputation of registered agents in our tourism industry and it is unfair to other registered agents.

“Jangan kerana marahkan nyamuk habis kelambu dibakar (Malay saying which means ‘Just because you are irritated by a mosquito, you burn the mosquito net’,” stressed Helmi, who also had the opportunity to meet with the Selangor Ministry of Tourism & Culture yesterday to discuss the matter.

NS

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