PORT DICKSON: Prospective hajj pilgrims have been advised not to be overly concerned about the current conflict in the Middle East, and to concentrate fully on their religious obligations.

Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) hajj executive director Datuk Seri Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman (pix) said that this is because, in addition to the Malaysian government, the Saudi Arabian government also always focuses on and emphasises security aspects for approximately three million hajj pilgrims, from all over the world.

He said that the government of Saudi Arabia had also performed its duties and responsibilities very well, especially in dealing with various situations, including conflicts, threats of epidemics and disasters.

“Pilgrims should not think too far ahead, there are a few weeks left to go to the Holy Land, make adequate preparations and when you are there, just concentrate (on religious obligations) and don’t be influenced by various rumours.

“The most important thing is to consult TH if there is any problem, Insya-Allah, TH will be with the pilgrims to perform the pilgrimage,” he told reporters, after officiating the graduation of the 2024 Executive Programme for Hajj Guidance Facilitators (EPIH), today.

He said that the current situation in the Middle East is also under control, and does not affect the country’s umrah and hajj pilgrimages.

Two days ago, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs), Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar, reportedly said that the safety of pilgrims is always a priority for the government and TH, apart from working closely with the government of Saudi Arabia to ensure the smooth journey of the pilgrims.

In the meantime, Syed Saleh said that all the preparations to go to the Holy Land, with the first flight, involving 284 participants, on May 9, were carried out well, including accommodation; transport; and food and drink for the pilgrims.

“At the same time, hajj officials also departed (to Saudi Arabia) this week to prepare all facilities, such as offices, clinics and so on, to receive the first group of pilgrims,” he said, adding that the 31,600 Hajj quota this year has been filled.

On the EPIH programme, a joint venture between TH and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), aims to ensure that each Homeland Hajj Trainer (PEKTA) undergoes systematic academic learning to guide pilgrims, while here in the country and the Holy Land.

He said that the programme aims to explain the latest hajj and umrah regulations, based on current issues and problems.

The two-day EPIH programme, starting on April 20, saw 126 participants, including PEKTA, religious teachers from the hajj pilgrimage operators (PJH), TH and USIM staff, as well as individuals.