Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he could not guarantee that the cost of performing the Haj pilgrimage for the next season would remain at the current rate.
This, he said, was due to the higher cost which the Tabung Haji (Pilgrims Fund Board) would have to bear with the increase in prices of foodstuff and accommodation here and in Medina.
He added that Tabung Haji was also getting lower returns from its investments in oil palm plantations due to a drop in palm oil price.
“It is fortunate that this year, because of the previous high price of palm oil, Tabung Haji is able to maintain the cost of performing the Haj pilgrimage by subsiding nearly RM100mil.
“(But) with the current drop in palm oil price, it is impossible for Tabung Haji to give that much subsidy next year,” he told Malaysian journalists Saturday after a briefing on haj operations at the Tabung Haji headquarters here.
He said the current haj package provided by Tabung Haji was RM8,900 per person, but the actual cost incurred by each pilgrim, including for accommodation and food, was RM11,500.
“This means Tabung Haji has to subside RM2,600 for each haj pilgrim,” he added.
Asked how much the increase in the haj cost would be for next year, he said it would depend on the cost to be incurred and Tabung Haji’s capabilities.
Zahid arrived here Thursday to perform the Haj pilgrimage.
Today, he is scheduled to visit facilities provided by Tabung Haji for Malaysian pilgrims. - Bernama