PUTRAJAYA: The first group of Malaysian haj pilgrims arrived home via the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here last night.
The 497 pilgrims arrived at 7pm and were welcomed by Tabung Haji (TH) human resource chief officer and deputy director of haj operations, Mohd Hisham Harun, other senior TH officials and pilgrims’ family members.
Mohd Hisham said the group departed Jeddah at 3.46am Saudi Arabian time on FLYNAS flight XY7604.
He said that haj operations this year went smoothly, thanks to the cooperation of the Saudi Arabian government.
He added that 19 pilgrims – nine in Mekkah and Madinah before Wukuf; and 10 after that – died from heart attacks, viral lung infections, asthma and lung inflammations.
A total of 81 flights will bring a total of 30,200 Malaysian pilgrims back, with the last flight scheduled for Sept 25.
For pilgrim Abdul Hanif Abu Bakar, a powerful sandstorm which hit Arafat was his most memorable and scary experience in the Holy Land.
Abdul Hanif, 54, from Gombak, Selangor, said it was an experience he would never forget.
Pilgrim Hasmah Maidin, 67, also said the sandstorm was a terrifying experience and that she was grateful that nobody was hurt in it. -- Bernama © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd