Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (ANTARA News) - In the Hajj season of 1439 Hijri (2018), pilgrims from Indonesia and Malaysia obtain some facilities through Makkah Road Initiative which has been launched by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, recently.

A statement from the Saudi News Agency (SPA) received by Antara here on Sunday mentioned that the launch was marked by the implementation of Makkah Road Initiative for pilgrims departing through the first two flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday (July 14).

With the Makkah Road Initiative, pilgrims from Indonesia and Malaysia can complete the process of entry into the Kingdom from their respective countries through dedicated routes at the airport, with the cooperation of several government agencies, to facilitate their pilgrimage.

The services provided in Makkah Road Initiative includes issuing visas, handling customs and passport procedures, checking the availability of health requirements, as well as coding and sorting luggage according to the transportation and housing arrangements in the Kingdom.

These services will enable pilgrims to bypass the procedures on arrival in the Kingdom and will allow them to head directly to buses that will take them to their places of residence in Makkah and Madinah, while the service agencies handle the pilgrims` luggage and deliver them to their places.

Thus, the pilgrims cut off some procedures that had to be done on their arrivals in Saudi Arabia. The procedures used to take a long time.

The launch of the initiative was attended by officials from the relevant authorities, led by Minister in the Malaysian Prime Minister's Office for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Mujahid Yusuf; Director General of the Malaysian Immigration Department, Dato Sri / Mustafa Ali; and Chief Executive of the Office of Malaysia Pilgrims Affairs, Dato Sri / Zukri Samat.

Meanwhile, attendees from Saudi Arabia were the Director General of Passports, Major General Sulaiman Al Yahya; the Kingdom's Ambassador to Malaysia, Mahmoud bin Hussein Qattan; and members of the supervisory committee of the relevant bodies providing services to pilgrims in the Kingdom, namely, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Customs, and the National Information Center.

Officials from both countries closely observed the implementation of the initiative and met Malaysian pilgrims to get feedback from them about the pilgrim services provided through the Makkah Road Initiative.

Ambassador Mahmoud Qattan praised the Saudi government`s efforts to serve pilgrims through the initiative and appreciated the cooperation of Malaysian authorities and services at the Kuala Lumpur Airport.

The entire departure procedure of 2018 Hajj season from Malaysia will be completed through this initiative.

Meanwhile, the head of the Saudi delegation, Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al Yahya, pointed out the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince to serve the pilgrims according to the National Transformation Program 2020, Saudi Vision 2030 and under the direct supervision of the Minister of Interior, who heads the Supreme Hajj Committee.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Hussein Al-Sharif said the ministry has made all the facilities ready to host the pilgrims.

The Makkah Road service is one of the initiatives being implemented within the framework of the National Transformation Program 2020 in order to achieve the Kingdom`s Vision 2030.

The initiative aims to improve the services for pilgrims and to facilitate their performance of Hajj.

The initiative was started in the last Hajj season in 1438 Hijri (2017) with some Malaysian pilgrims, and will include all of them in the current year 1439 Hijri (2018).

Reporter: Libertina W. Ambari
Editor: Bambang Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2018