Wednesday, 6 Rabiul Awwal 1440 / 14 November 2018

Wednesday, 6 Rabiul Awwal 1440 / 14 November 2018

At least 150,000 people cheated failing to perform Umrah

Senin 28 May 2018 16:36 WIB

Red: Reiny Dwinanda

Al-Haram Mosque.

Al-Haram Mosque.

Foto: Republika/Reiny Dwinanda
Government has revoked the license of for Umrah operators.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- At least 150,000 people have failed to perform Umrah since 2017 as they were cheated by the operators, Azmi Syah Putra, a lecturer of the law faculty of the Bung Karno University said. The people could not perform their religious rite as around Rp2 trillion they paid for the travel cost were embezzled by travel agents, he said.

Azmi said that was a new form of crime committed in religious service business. "This is not an ordinary case of cheating crime. It is a predicate crime that would lead to money laundering," he said in a news release issued here on Sunday night.

He described the crime as serious as the victims could suffer psychologically, long lasting depression. "This is very serious. The government, in this case the Ministry of Religious Affairs, has to seriously address this problem," he said.

The Ministry has to be more selective in issuing license for Umrah operators, he added. He said it is important to have synergy between related agencies including the Financial Transaction Analysis Reporting Center (PPATK) to trace the flow of the money belonging to the prospective Umrah pilgrims.

There must be standards of services with limit of time Umrah pilgrims must have departed to the holy land to perform the religious rites in six months after paying the travel cost, he added.

"It is too long for the people to wait up to two years before they have their turn of performing their religious duties in the holy land," he said.

The long time allowed the travel agents to misuse the money belonging to the prospective Umrah pilgrims, he said citing cases involving a number of travel agents lately.

The government has revoked the license of four Umrah operators including PT Amanah Bersama Ummat (ABU Tours), which is based in Makassar, Solusi Balad Lumampah (SBL) in Bandung, Mustaqbal Prima Wisata in Cirebon, and Interculture Tourindo in Jakarta for allegedly embezzling the money of prospective Umrah pilgrims.

Interculture Tourindo is an affiliation of troubled travel agent First Travel, whose license had been revoked earlier.

Meanwhile, LPSK chairman Abdul Haris Semendaway said he was concerned with the growing number of people falling victims to deceitful travel agents.

Earlier, the Religious Affairs Ministry has impose a minimum reference fee for minor Hajj (umrah) tour (BPIU). The minimum reference fee is at Rp20 million, to avoid umrah scams that offer cheap packages,

Umrah and Special Hajj Director Arfi Hatim said the reference price was in line with Minister of Religious Affairs Decree No. 221 of 2018 on the Cost of Implementation of Umrah Worship Reference published on 13 April. The minimum fee has been discussed with umrah operators, the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU), the National Consumer Protection Board, and other related institutions.

Various problems that are linked to cheap umrah package include failure by operators to dispatch pilgrims, abandoned pilgrims, failure to obtained passport and visa for umrah, and ban by the immigration office.

Sumber : Antara
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