MADINAH, July 14 2018 : The Malaysian Haj pilgrim’s pre-departure programme between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, which begins this year, is effective in shortening the waiting period of the pilgrims at the airport.
Malaysian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Datuk Zainol Rahim Zainuddin said the co-operation programme between the two countries had cut the Customs and Immigration checks at the airport to one hour compared to four hours earlier.
“I would like to thank the Saudi Arabian government for helping us and facilitating the entry of our pilgrims. This is the first time this programme is implemented for our pilgrims and Malaysia is the earliest country to be given the honour.
“The process of our pilgrims’ entry today was very easy and went so smoothly. This is an innovation by the Saudi government that we really appreciate, “he told the media after welcoming the first group of pilgrims to Madinah here today.
The first group of pilgrims who arrived at the Prince Mohammad Abdulaziz International Airport at 9.24 am local time and reached the Mövenpick hotel in the accomodation second zone at about 10.50 am was greeted by Zainol along with Entourage deputy chief (Welfare) Nurrinanuwar Shamsuddin and Madinah Tabung Haji director of operations Affandi Abdullah.
Zainol Rahim said the implementation of the pre-departure programme for the Malaysian pilgrims also showed that the Malaysia-Saudi bilateral ties remained strong despite Malaysia being under a new government.
“The implementation of this programme shows that cooperation between the two governments (Saudi Arabia and Malaysia) is very good. The pre-departure programme for pilgrims has never been offered to other countries other than Malaysia,” he said.
Zainol Rahim hoped that Malaysian pilgrims would maintain their discipline while in the Holy Land as well as being patient in the face of ordeals in performing Haj this year.
Meanwhile, would-be-pilgrims, Anuar Ismail, 53, and wife Ramlah Jusoh, 48, were happy with the service and time saving through the pre-departure programme by the Saudi government which was done in Kuala Lumpur.
“We do not have to wait long (at the Madinah airport), just a short time and then we took the bus, so we do not feel so tired,” he said. – Bernama