CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN, NAJIB RUSHES TO DISTANCE FROM ‘JHO LOW II’ VISA SYSTEM CHARGE ON MUSLIM PILGRIMS, WHILE DEPUTY MINISTER SAYS ‘I DIDN’T KNOW’ IMAMS RUN BY NON-MUSLIMS

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has described the cancellation of the Integrated Manasik Monitoring System (Imams) for umrah visa applications, as an appropriate measure.

“I disagree with the Imams system being implemented for Umrah visa applications. The announcement of the cancellation is very apt,” he said in a tweet on Saturday.

The Imams cancellation was announced by Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin earlier Saturday.

Following the cancellation of the Imams system, Mas Ermieyati said the Government would be looking for a more effective way of handling umrah package frauds.

Among other things, Imams imposed certain charges that were perceived by the community as additional costs for performing umrah. – Bernama

MEANWHILE, according to The Malaysian Insight:

‘I didn’t know’, says deputy minister on visa system for umrah pilgrims

THE deputy minister who announced the start of a controversial visa application system for umrah pilgrims, which was halted a day after it began, was almost in tears at a press conference today as she explained that she did not know it would be managed by a company run by non-Muslims.

RELATED STORIES: JHO LOW II BEHIND NAJIB’S NEW ‘IMAMS’ SCHEME TO LEVY RM90 FEE ON EACH MUSLIM PILGRIM? IT’S DAYLIGHT ROBBERY – ENRAGED MUSLIM GROUPS QUESTION LATEST COMPULSORY ‘TOLL’

IMAMS DIKUASAI SEBANGSA JHO LOW?

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Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, the deputy minister of tourism and culture, admitted she did not have information about the company and the Integrated Manasik Monitoring System (IMAMS) which she earlier said was aimed at curbing fraud involving umrah packages.

“That information was not there (when it was provided to me)

“I got the letter in the afternoon after my media conference (yesterday) and I asked my officer again. The information was not there and I am very disappointed,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today, an hour after tweeting that the IMAMS, which would begin yesterday, was now cancelled.

This evening, Prime Minister Najib Razak also tweeted his disapproval of the system.

“I disagree with the IMAMS system imposed on visa matters for those performing the umrah. The announcement that is has been cancelled is very appropriate,” Najib tweeted.

The system has been criticised for its additional charge of RM90.10 per umrah pilgrim when other visa application systems to perform the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia were available for free.

The charge also included takaful (insurance) for umrah pilgrims but the Umrah and Haj Tourism Agencies Association (Papuh) said there was cheaper insurance available.

BERNAMA / TME MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

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