SEPANG: Malaysia is the first country in the world to introduce proof of concept (POC) for pre-clearance of Haj pilgrims at the point of departure.
The world’s first POC for Haj pilgrims pre-clearance was conducted at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today, involving 287 pilgrims who would be flying to Saudi Arabia via Malaysia Airlines charter flight MH8146.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi, who witnessed the POC at KLIA today, said the pilot initiative was aimed at facilitating the arrivals of pilgrims into Saudi Arabia.
Pilgrims who underwent the POC phase would go through immigration clearance by Saudi Arabia Immigration officers before boarding their flight in KLIA, he said.
“Upon their arrival at the Haj terminal at King Abdulaziz International airport, the pilgrims will be escorted through a special lane without having to go through the normal immigration clearance, saving them hours of waiting time.
“Usually, the pilgrims have to go through five to six hours of immigration process at Saudi Arabia. Now the entire immigration process will be done at KLIA and pilgrims can head directly to baggage collection. This only takes 30 minutes,” he said.
Speaking to reporters, Ab Aziz said Malaysia was honoured to be chosen by the government of Saudi Arabia for the pilot site and the POC was planned for five days starting today until next Monday involving a total of 112 flights.
Also present were Lembaga Tabung Haji chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Malaysia Airports managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali.
Abdul Azeez said Saudi Arabia had chosen Malaysia to conduct the pilot project because of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s strong friendship and ties with King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the kingdom’s confident in Malaysia’s progress in transportation infrastructure and world-class facilities development.
He said the trial of the pilot project involving 80 pilgrims was “wonderful” and they received a warm welcome from Saudi Immigration in Jeddah.
He said the Saudi government also sent 50 officials from its Immigration Department and Home Ministry to conduct the POC at KLIA to facilitate Malaysian pilgrims. — Bernama
Source : The Sun Daily