Cash crisis in Saudi: LUTH’s liquidity or remittance Al Saudi?

This year’s Hajj season where Tabung Haji managed to ship 28,000 Malaysians now facing a new crisis. Malaysian pilgrims are only allowed to draw Saudi Rial 500 only. This is a problem for almost all of them, where over 50% of them already arrived in Medinah and now flights are shipping the remaining pilgrims to Mekkah via Jeddah.

According to a BOD member of Tabung Haji, this problem resulted from Saudi authorities question and limit the withdrawal allowable for each pilgrim. In Medinah for the past five days, even the queue numbers issued for Malaysian pilgrims have been limited. Some of them war wondering whether Tabung Haji is facing cash problem in Saudi as the withdrawal limit will be problematic to many of them.

It is said that Tabung Haji is ready with cash at the amount of RM 60 million for the pilgrims to withdraw when they are performing Hajj (Tabung Haji provide the service to draw money from their agents in Mekkah pro Medinah). That is almost RM 2150 pro rate per pilgrim.

It has now become a ‘confidence’ issue.

Why the Saudi authorities acting this manner is a mystery. Tabung Haji in the past managed to arrange all the needs of Malaysian pilgrims very well. In fact, their management of pilgrims ability is second to none. The remittance arrangements between Malaysian financial institution and Saudi’s are impeccable. So much so in the past, Malaysians can withdraw cash from corresponding Saudi banks ATM.

Does this mean that Saudi financial institutions are facing ‘liquidity crunch’?

Needless to say, this is affecting majority of the 28,000 Malaysian pilgrims, many of them either first time to Saudi or anywhere outside Malaysia. For a large chunk of them, this Hajj trip is life savings and a preparation they do a good better part of their working life.

Just to note to this story is that Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak will arrive for Hajj on 1 November. It will not look good when Malaysian pilgrims face this cash problem.

*Updated Monday 17 Oct 2011 0200hrs

In a phone interview with blogger Another Brick in the Wall from Medinah, apparently recently there is an assassination attempt on the Saudi Ambassador to Washington D.C. by some who are believed to be Iranians.

Alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador to US – timeline

Key dates in alleged plot to kill Adel al-Jubeir, as described in court papers filed by the US justice department

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US

The Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir was the target of an alleged plot over which two Iranians, Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, have been charged. Photograph: Joe Marquette/EPA

US authorities said they have charged two men linked to the Iranian government with plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

Following are some key dates in the alleged plot, as described by court papers filed in New York and by US justice department officials at a news conference in Washington.

24 May One Iranian, Manssor Arbabsiar, meets in Mexico with a person posing as an associate of a drug trafficking cartel, but who in reality is an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

Arbabsiar asks about the informant’s knowledge of explosives and explains he is interested in attacking a Saudi embassy.

2 June Arbabsiar returns to Mexico and holds more meetings with the informant in late June and early July. Arbasiar allegedly says his associates in Iran have discussed a number of “violent missions” including the murder of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir.

14 July The informant allegedly tells Arbabsiar that $1.5m is his price for carrying out the assassination, and says he will use four men to carry it out.

17 July The informant allegedly tells Arbabsiar one of his men has already carried out surveillance in Washington on the ambassador. They allegedly discuss bombing a restaurant the ambassador frequently dined at.

When the informant says others, including US senators who dined at the restaurant, could be killed in the attack, Arbabsiar allegedly dismisses the concerns as “no big deal”.

1-2 August Arbabsiar, with the approval of his co-defendant, Gholam Shakuri, allegedly sends two wire transfers totalling $100,000 as a down payment for the hit.

28 September Arbabsiar flies to Mexico, but is denied entry and is placed on a return flight. The next day, during a flight layover, he is arrested by federal agents at JFK airport in New York.

4-5 October Arbabsiar makes phone calls – monitored by US law enforcement agents – to Shakuri, who is described as a member of the Quds force, a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He is believed to be based in Iran.

Shakuri allegedly confirms to Arbabsiar that the plot should move forward as quickly as possible, stating: “Just do it quickly, it’s late.”


Hence, for security reasons and pre-emptive measures the Saudis are limiting withdrawal of cash by all foreigners.

According to A Voice, he spoke with Vice Counsel Shahrol Najmi Basaruddin after their Isya’ prayers at Masjid Al Nabawi who affirmed that for the purpose of Hajj, special arrangements are being made to ensure the needs and comfort of Malaysian pilgrims are not impaired. Malaysian pilgrims would be allowed to directly charge expenses such a Dam (penalty for breaching Hajj or Ihram strict rules), tithe, sacrifice (Korban) or even shipping of personal items (which include water from the Zam Zam  well) back to Malaysia via Pos Malaysia special courier services, to their Tabung Haji account.

Only withdrawal of cash has been limited.

For some other nations’  pilgrims, even withdrawal of cash is not allowed. Saudi authorities are really taking serious precautionary measures, with the eminent assassination threat.

Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 21:03  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. maybe there are hidden hands behind the scam to soil LUTH’s image

  2. Sedih dengan nasib jemaah muasasah yang tidak disediakan sarapan pagi oleh pihak Tabung Haji. Mereka terpaksa membeli sarapan sendiri setiap hari. Dan jika wang hanya boleh di keluarkan SR500 dari akaun simpanan Tabung Haji, bagaimana mereka akan terus survive selama 45 hari di Mekah dan Madinah? Apakah alasan Tabung Haji pihak kerajaan Saudi tidak membenarkan jamuan sarapan pagi bagi tujuan keselamatan juga?

    • salam,
      tabung haji mmg tak sediakan sarapan pagi untuk jemaah muasasah dari dulu kg dan bukan hanya oada tahun ini. Dan sepatutnya jemaah tahu mengenai perkara ini sbb telah dimaklumkan awal
      bakal jemaah

  3. tanya ismee la, kan kita budak2 green lane, (termasuk saya hehe)

  4. Alamak, kalau sorang jemaah Malaysia boleh withdraw SR500 sahaja, macamana Kak Ros/RM nak shopping sakan beli Birkin bag Hermes kat Mekah nanti? Potong steam….!!!

  5. Salam BigDog,

    ABITW gave an update about an hour ago on the TH cash problem in Mekkah.

    I read this regarding the assasination plot.

    Thank you

  6. what has withdrawing cash Mekah got to do with the attempt on the life of the ambassador to the US?

    • Totally agree with you. Tabung Haji is giving lame excuses for their own blunder and blaming the Saudi government?

  7. […] Read some-more HERE. […]

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