Deputy minister admits lack of information on visa system for umrah pilgrims

Diyana Ibrahim

THE deputy minister who announced the start of a controversial visa application system for umrah pilgrims, which was halted a day after it began, was almost in tears at a press conference today as she explained that she did not know it would be managed by a company run by non-Muslims.

Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, the deputy minister of tourism and culture, admitted she did not have information about the company and the Integrated Manasik Monitoring System (IMAMS) which she earlier said was aimed at curbing fraud involving umrah packages.

“That information was not there (when it was provided to me)

“I got the letter in the afternoon after my media conference (yesterday) and I asked my officer again. The information was not there and I am very disappointed,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today, an hour after tweeting that the IMAMS, which would begin yesterday, was now cancelled.

She said after her press conference yesterday when she announced the system, she was told of concerns that one of the company’s executives was a non-Muslim.

This evening, Prime Minister Najib Razak also tweeted his disapproval of the system.

“I disagree with the IMAMS system imposed on visa matters for those performing the umrah. The announcement that is has been cancelled is very appropriate,” Najib tweeted.

The system has been criticised for its additional charge of RM90.10 per umrah pilgrim when other visa application systems to perform the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia were available for free.

The charge also included takaful (insurance) for umrah pilgrims but the Umrah and Haj Tourism Agencies Association (Papuh) said there was cheaper insurance available.

The system was meant to be compulsory for umrah visa applications and would have been imposed on all 65 tourism agencies that handle umrah in Malaysia.

Mas Ermieyati today said the government would find another mechanism that was more efficient to deal with the problem of fraudulent umrah packages.

She said the government would also ensure that Muslims would be engaged to manage it.

“The ministry will ensure that the new mechanism will be 100% Islamic. We know how sensitive this is,” she said.

IMAMS’ chief operating officer was named as Ryan Loh in a circular announcing the implementation of the system.

Mas Ermieyati said the company also had shareholders who were Muslims, but added that the matter was now settled as IMAMS would no longer be implemented. – December 16, 2017.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.


  • This is a typical umno leadership response to any disaster/problem - blame the non-Malay or non-Muslim. It is similar to many racist response - pointing to Malay leadership for any company's failure. This tai-chi or shifting blame to others must stop or Malaysia will sink to the bottom of a cesspool. For more cesspool management (not Indah Water Bdh) go read

    Posted 6 years ago by Chris Ng · Reply

  • Quite clear that its more than just information that she's lacking. Besides that its the usual racist rant they keep harping over and over.

    Posted 6 years ago by Xuz ZG · Reply

  • U failed! Resign la!

    Posted 6 years ago by Chin Chai · Reply

  • If u have some dignity, tender your post with honor. Rakyat will respect, if not...shame on u!

    Posted 6 years ago by Chin Chai · Reply

  • So, if there are no non muslims involved, it will be ok to implement this system and charge the pilgrims accordingly? Thank you for the clarification.

    Posted 6 years ago by Koj J · Reply

  • It is not just the incompetence in the UmnoBN administration. Even now it does not matter if the Deputy Minister is aware or not or have full knowledge on who is running the controversial visa immigration for Umrah pilgrims. Nothing will change for even if it is a Muslim organisation running the program , the simple minded pilgrims folks will still be fleeced. If Tabung Haji is already in big shambles what so special that other smaller scale religious company will not be spared of the malady where wholesome "plundering" is norm. The sandiwara of non muslim executive company in mentioned is only a projection to offset the blame game. The tweet of MO1 in his caring and concern for the pilgrims makes it more distasteful as it looks like one phoney brouhaha for the coming elections

    Posted 6 years ago by Lee Lee · Reply

  • Nasri came out to clarify that his request of Rm40 fee, instead of Rm90, and service is non-compulsory as his reason for the cancellation. Ermieyati, why are you using the Chinese directorship as the issue??
    The company has to be with IT expertise and here it happens to be from non-Muslims.

    Posted 6 years ago by TuanLin Ooi · Reply

  • I don't even know a thing,what i am good at is arse licking.

    Posted 6 years ago by Leslie Chan · Reply