BUKIT MERTAJAM, Apr 15 – A family of five from Indonesia arrived here three days ago on their way to Makkah to perform the umrah pilgrimage.
Yesterday, after a good rest and replenishing the necessary stuff, Muchlis Abdullah, 47, his wife Julianti Husin, 47, and their three children – Mirza Hakim, 15, Ahmad Zaki Hafiz, 11, and six-year-old Oliva Yumna, 6, set off to continue with their journey.
The family is expected to cross between eight and 10 countries before arriving in Jeddah.
“I expect us to arrive in Jeddah in five to seven months, meaning between January and March next year,” he told Bernama when met at the compound of Masjid Papan, Permatang Pauh here yesterday, where they were flagged-off by the mosque imam, Wahab Yahaya.
The family began their expedition last July 11 with Muchlis and Mirza Hakim leaving from Jakarta, while Julianti left from Medan with Ahmad Zaki Hafiz and Oliva Yumna.
They arrived in Malaysia through Melaka via ferry service last July 30 and then proceeded to the north through Selangor and Perak before arriving in Penang.
In Penang, local residents chipped in to help accommodate Muchlis and his family at a hotel in Permatang Pauh where they stayed for two days.
Their next destination is Gurun, Kedah, before proceeding to Thailand and other countries such as Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and then Saudi Arabia.
According to Muchlis, the planning and preparation for the journey were carried out since two years ago.
“We are mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for the journey, but may have to consider using public transport , such as train or aeroplane, in case of unavoidable circumstances, such as in countries with ongoing conflict.
“We are very grateful to the Malaysian people for the assistance and contributions… it cannot be expressed in words, only God knows and can repay them,” he added.
Prior to arriving in Malaysia, Muchlis had contacted Rusnah Bana, 65, who resides in Permatang Pauh, for assistance as the woman and her husband, Mohd Damanhuri Abd Talib, 65, had previously helped a couple, also from Indonesia, during their cycling expedition to the holy land.
“The response was encouraging. Many people wanted to contribute and provide assistance. A restaurant owner in Kulim asked me to bring the family there because he wanted to serve them meal and provide financial assistance. “We also have a group of superbikers raising fund for the family,” said Rusnah. — Bernama