MAKKAH,� With more Malaysian Haj pilgrims arriving in the Holy Land this year, Tabung Haji (TH staff) have been told to up their spirits and commitment in attending to these ‘dhuyufurrahman’ or ‘guests of Allah’ to ensure a smooth Haj.(Tabung Haji is Malaysia’s Haj Pilgrimage management board)

Head of the Malaysian Haj delegation for the 1438 Hijrah season, Datuk Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman said as there were less than 10 days to the Masyair (height of the Haj programme) operation, the TH staff needed to fully focus on their responsibilities as this period would be the most important, involving the compulsory Haj rituals and activities to be performed by the pilgrims.

“They need to ensure smooth and systematic managing of the movement of pilgrims, of their lodgings, meals, performance of their religious obligations, medical and other needs, he said when delivering his message to the TH staff at the agency’s headquarters in Abraj Al-Janadriyah Hotel, here, Monday.

At the moment, 84 per cent of the 30,200 Malaysian pilgrims for this season’s Haj have arrived in the Holy Land, with the rest to be arriving in stages from Kuala Lumpur.

We are moving to the next episode, the climax of the Haj, so as staff on duty for the pilgrims, do your best and be proactive in serving them,” Syed Saleh further said in his speech.

He said following the Saudi Arabian government’s decision to reinstate the 20 per cent quota of Haj pilgrims for countries including Malaysia, an increase of 600,000 to 700,000 pilgrims was expected from all over the world this year.

Therefore, he said, the TH staff must always be in a state of preparedness in facing whatever challenges to ensure a smooth Haj operation for the pilgrims.

There will be more buses carrying the pilgrims to Arafah, Mudzalifah and Mina, and surely there will be traffic congestion. Therefore, we will start moving earlier in our Masyair operation as the journey time will take longer and it will also be more crowded in Arafah and Mina.

Syed Saleh said there were also the challenges posed by the hot and dry weather, and dust.

“Last year on Wukuf Day (mass gathering of pilgrims on Mount Arafah), the temperature had reached 50 degrees Celsius. Hence, the TH staff need to give healthcare advice to the pilgrims, besides praying for divine intervention to ease their operations, he added.

At the event, the TH staff also sang patriotic songs in conjunction with the Merdeka (Independence) month and there were also the reciting of the ‘doa’ and a video show.