On Thursday (7 July), about 380 would-be Hajj pilgrims were left stranded at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) after they were believed to have been cheated by a travel agency.
According to Bernama, the group of prospective pilgrims are believed to have issued the furada visa – a private visa issued by Saudi Arabia, without involving the quota allocated to Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH).
It was reported that the pilgrims were supposed to depart for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at 4.30 pm, but they were later told by the travel agency that their flight had been postponed to 7 pm.
Jemaah Haji terkandas di KLIA.— Fareez Azman (@FareezAzmann) July 7, 2022
Difahamkan hampir 400 jemaah tidak dapat terbang ke Jeddah malam ini.
Ada jemaah yg dah buat laporan polis.
Mereka daftar dgn sebuah syarikat travel agency swasta.
Kami sedang dptkan info lanjut dari pihak polis @501Awani #Haji2022 pic.twitter.com/2M0xgVmA0n
However, some in the group later checked and discovered that the last flight to Jeddah was actually at about 6 pm.
In addition, the group also claimed that the agency had never shown their flight tickets and visas to perform the Hajj.
It is said that the victims had each paid thousands of ringgit to go to the Holy Land, with one taking out about RM76,000 from her savings to perform Umrah pilgrims with her husband.
“Until now, we have not gotten our passports back because they are still being held by the travel agency,” the victim said.
Salah seorang jemaah Haji dari KL sebak tidak dapat menunaikan Haji tahun ini.— Fareez Azman (@FareezAzmann) July 7, 2022
Duit EPF digunakan utk menunaikan rukun Islam kelima itu.
Ada jemaah dari Pahang, Johor, Kelantan. Difahamkan ada jemaah yg tiba sejak 28 Jun lalu. @501Awani #Haji2022 pic.twitter.com/82gsARDdaf
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, a representative of the travel agency who was allegedly responsible for the scam met with the group at KLIA but there were no further explanation on the issue.
Along with the post, a photo showing an individual believed to be from UC Travel Sdn Bhd was circulated online. However, it is unclear what position the man holds in the travel agency, but netizens believed that he is Agus Rizal Mat, the chief executive officer (CEO) of UC Travel.
In the photo, he can be seen surrounded by the congregation seeking an explanation. Nonetheless, the prospective pilgrims were not satisfied with the company’s explanation of the matter.
According to Astro Awani, 17 police reports against UC Travel have been lodged by the victims from Thursday until 4.30 am on Friday (8 July).
KLIA district police chief ACP Imran Abd Rahman said the police have interviewed the owner of the travel company, who is now a suspect in the case.
“On Thursday (7 July), we interviewed him to get the story, as a result of this report we will conduct an investigation into whether there is any element of deception,” he said.
The case is being probed under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating, which provides for a jail term of up to 10 years, whipping, and a fine, if convicted.