There are risks for haj pilgrims with Furada visa

KUALA LUMPUR, After the issue on 26 haj pilgrims from Malaysia who could not perform the fifth pillar of Islam due to problems regarding their Furada haj visas, several other cases faced with similar problems came to light.

According to an official of a tour agency which also manages haj pilgrims, his company received 151 Furada visas initially but transactions of 79 pilgrims managed by his company this year could not be be fulfilled because of technical problems relating to their visas.

This year, we managed 151 haj pilgrims using the Furada visa but only 72 pilgrims managed to make it while 79 pilgrims had technical problems regarding their Furada visas.

We tried our level best to get the visas which were said to have been approved but could not proceed as the registration process in Saudi Arabia had closed, he told Bernama.

One of the haj pilgrims who should have left for the Holy Land yesterday, Sharifah Hunaini Syed Ismail, 43, said the cancellation of the trip at the last minute due to the visa problem had affected her.

Sharifah Hunaini who had registered with her husband, Syed Mohd Rodizan Syed Mohd Zain, 44, last Monday, was told that only eight out of 15 haj pilgrims in her group would be given the Furada haj visa, but the application by these eight pilgrims could no longer be processed by the Saudi Arabian government and all efforts to obtain approval had been futile.

Before the Asar prayer time yesterday, we were told about the cancellation. Earlier we were told to be ready for the flight which was scheduled for yesterday at the latest, she said.

Meanwhile, Mohd Awal Ibrahim, 59, said he accepted the incident that transpired as not his time yet to perform the fifth Pillar of Islam.

At least I received the news at home. I have friends from the other group who were already wearing the ‘ihram’ or the attire used to perform the haj at the airport who had to return home after receiving the disappointing news, he said.

Mohd Awal said he had paid RM23,000 to perform the haj via the Furada haj visa obtained by dealing directly with the Saudi Arabian Embassy, in an effort to go to the Holy Land much earlier as his turn to perform the haj under the management of Tabung Haji should have been in 2044.

On Tuesday, 26 Malaysian pilgrims were stranded at the Jeddah International Airport as they had Furada haj visas which were not valid, causing them to be flown back to Malaysia.

The Furada visa is a haj visa obtained by dealing directly with the Saudi Arabian Embassy and does not involve the haj quota of a particular country. It is usually given at the last minute based on the vacancy available.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)