Clean sweep: Malaysian pilgrims show faith with fight against litter

Malaysian Muslim women pray during Eid al-Adha at a mosque in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on Aug. 22, 2018. Malaysians who participated in this yea's Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have won praises for cleaning up the places they have occupied in Mina before leaving. (AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)
Updated 26 August 2018
0

Clean sweep: Malaysian pilgrims show faith with fight against litter

  • Malaysian pilgrims this year participated in the mass volunteerism during Masha’er between 11, 12 and 13 Dul Hijjah.
  • Widely known for their well-behaved and disciplined image worldwide, Malaysian pilgrims make it a point to clean up the places they occupy in Makkah before leaving

JEDDAH: Malaysian pilgrims’ good behavior was praised by authorities from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia for contributing to the success of the cleanliness campaign in this year’s Hajj season.

Syed Saleh Syed Abdul Rahman, head of Malaysian Hajj Delegation Mission 1439H told during the launch of the cleanliness campaign in Mina that Malaysian pilgrims exhibited exemplary attitudes toward cleanliness even when faced with adversity.

The cleanliness program was launched with the collaboration between the staff of the Malaysian Hajj pilgrims fund board (Tabung Hajji), Saudi’s Southeast Asia Muassasah and Malaysian Hajj pilgrims in every tent.

Widely known for their well-behaved and disciplined image worldwide, there are 30,200 Malaysian pilgrims this year who participated in the gotong royong or mass-volunteerism during Masha’er between 11, 12 and 13 Zulhijjah.

He revealed that pilgrims picked up rubbish around their tents and lauded that the Malaysian area was the cleanest. Syed Saleh also added that Malaysian pilgrims were patient following a long, unusual storm with strong winds that cause damaged to the tents and power outage on Sunday.

“We want photos and videos of our clean sites to go viral the way photos of Japanese fans cleaning up the stadium after a World Cup match recently in Russia did.”

“The Saudi government always brings up how well behaved our pilgrims are and has accorded us many privileges as a result. The Muassasah has also on its part increased the number of general workers to clean up the toilets, for example,” he added.

The Southeast Asia Muassasah Tewafah is a government agency under the umbrella of Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Ministry. The agency is responsible for managing pilgrims from Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, in Makkah. With the theme “cleanliness is part of faith,” this is the first time Tabung Hajji has collaborated with Southeast Asia Muassasah, which  led a large-scale cleanliness operation during Masha’er.

Masha’er refers to the colossal movement of pilgrims from all over the world. The procession starts from Makkah to Arafah for wukuf, continue to Muzdalifah for half a night, and then Mina for the stoning ritual. It ends the next day with all pilgrims returning to Makkah.

Syed Salleh said that the cleanliness campaign has a positive impact to the Malaysian Hajj pilgrims, adding that since the Malaysian pilgrims’ journey to Arafah, their tents were very clean.

“I personally witnessed that the Malaysia’s tents in Muzdalifah were very clean in comparison to other tents from other nations; this showed that Malaysian pilgrims can make a change by maintaining cleanliness,” told Syed Salleh.

During the previous annual Hajj, the Masha’er area which includes Arafah, Muzdalifah and Mina were left in such a messy condition with rubbish littered all over the place when the pilgrims left their tents to head back to Makkah.

The campaign has been well-received by netizens at the Tabung Hajji’s official Facebook page. The page was meant to serve as a way for family and loved ones of the Malaysian pilgrims to connect and receive updates about the situation of the Malaysian pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah.

Ramlah Othman wrote on Facebook, “Malaysian Hajjis and Hajjahs are well-trained with maintaining cleanliness in every country they go … Congratulations!”

Asmani Sufi wrote on Facebook, “Well done Tabung Hajji! Hope that the good work can be an exemplary to Hajj pilgrims from other nations.”

Rohaida Jalil wrote on Facebook, “A wonderful effort by Tabung Hajji and congratulation to Malaysian Hajj pilgrims. Well done!”

“Alhamdulillah today, another new Tabung Hajji initiative is implemented in the Holy Land, in our quest to further promote Malaysia to the World, especially in relation to the Hajj operations,” Syed Saleh told Arab News.

He said that the cleanliness campaign will not be a one-time effort but to be carried out by Tabung Hajji in upcoming Hajj seasons. “Cleanliness will also be a topic we will stress on during our pre-Hajj courses,” told Syed Slleh.During the previous annual Hajj, the Masha’er area which includes Arafah, Muzdalifah and Mina are left in such a messy condition with rubbish littered all over the place when the pilgrims left their tents to head back to Makkah.

The campaign has been well-received by netizens at the Tabung Hajji’s official Facebook page. The page was meant to serve as a way for family and loved ones of the Malaysian pilgrims to connect and receive updates about the situation of the Malaysian pilgrim in Mekkah and Madinah.

Ramlah Othman wrote on Facebook, “Malaysian Hajjis and Hajjahs are well-trained with maintaining cleanliness in every country they go … Congratulations!”

Asmani Sufi wrote on Facebook, “Well done Tabung Hajji! Hope that the good work can be an exemplary to Hajj pilgrims from other nations.”

Rohaida Jalil wrote on Facebook, “A wonderful effort by Tabung Hajji and congratulation to Malaysian Hajj pilgrims. Well done!”

“Alhamdulillah today, another new Tabung Hajji initiative is implemented in the Holy Land, in our quest to further promote Malaysia to the World, especially in relation to the Hajj operations,” Syed Saleh told Arab News.

He said that the cleanliness campaign will not be a one-time effort but to be carried out by Tabung Hajji in upcoming Hajj seasons. “Cleanliness will also be a topic we will stress on during our pre-Hajj courses,” told Syed Slleh.


Germany, Saudi Arabia agree to turn page after diplomatic row

We should have been clearer in our communication and engagement, said Maas. (AFP)
Updated 26 September 2018
0

Germany, Saudi Arabia agree to turn page after diplomatic row

  • The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, extended an invitation to his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, to visit the Kingdom at the earliest opportunity
  • We aim for close cooperation between our two countries and to this end seek to intensify our dialogue on a broad range of topics: Maas

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday welcomed a statement by the German foreign minister pledging his intention to work toward strengthening ties and enhancing cooperation between the two countries. 

Riyadh said the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Germany was a “historic and important” one, and the countries played a leading role in bolstering international security and stability, and the global economy. 

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, extended an invitation to his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, to visit the Kingdom at the earliest opportunity, “so that both countries may begin a new phase of close cooperation in all areas to the benefit of both our countries and peoples.”

Earlier, the German foreign minister said relations had “witnessed misunderstandings” in recent months “which stand in sharp contrast to our otherwise strong and strategic ties. We sincerely regret this.”

The minister said: “We should have been clearer in our communications and engagement in order to avoid such misunderstandings.

“We aim for close cooperation between our two countries and to this end seek to intensify our dialogue on a broad range of topics.

“Saudi Arabia plays an immensely important role for peace and stability in the region and the world. As there is a broad range of bilateral and international issues to discuss, we will do our best to make this partnership with the Kingdom even stronger than before.

“Considering our role in Europe and the world, improving our ties with Saudi Arabia will serve the interest of both nations and peoples.”