Private tour groups will no longer receive hajj quota

Pilgrims are seen off at the airport by their family. (Photo/Qibla Hajj and Umrah)

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet decided on Sunday to allocate all official quotas Maldives receives from Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage to the Maldives Hajj Corporation.

Mohamed Shaheeb, the chief spokesperson at the President’s Office, shared the key decisions made during the cabinet meeting in a press briefing on Sunday evening.

He said that the president made the decision to allocate all official hajj quotas to Hajj Corporation following deliberations on a paper submitted by the Islamic Ministry.

Presently, 6,000 pilgrims are registered in the Hajj Corporation queue to perform the pilgrimage, of which 4,706 have collected and paid their dues.

The decision aims to avoid prolonging their wait, improve the quality of service, and increase the general public's confidence in the quality of service provided by Hajj Corporation, said Shaheeb.

Maldives usually receives a quota of 1,000 for Maldivians to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage. Half is allocated to Hajj Corporation, and the rest are allocated to private tour groups.

According to Shaheeb, the Islamic Ministry have received several complaints concerning the quality of services provided by various companies transporting pilgrims in recent years, including allegations of overcharging.

During his presidential campaign, President Muizzu also pledged to sponsor the hajj pilgrimage of 1,000 Maldivians at state expense. The administration recently announced that 50 pilgrims will receive free hajj tours next year.