KULAI, Being in a wheelchair did not prevent an elderly man from fulfilling his desire to perform the Haj after having to forgo the pilgrimage three times before. Azmi Kassim, 64, who previously worked as a cleaner, persevered in his determination to perform the fifth pillar of Islam this time, as he considered his opportunity to be a blessing from his savings since registering with Tabung Haji in 2009. The father of four explained that he had to decline the first offers to perform the Haj in 2020 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2023 due to his poor health condition. However, this year, despite being involved in an accident in February which resulted in the loss of five toes on his right foot and him being confined to a wheelchair, he decided to go ahead with the pilgrimage. "I had the accident this year. Initially, I felt hesitant to go for the Haj, but with the encouragement and support from my family, friends, and doctors, I decided to go. 'I need to be strong. Insya-Allah, I can do it. The facilities are modern now, so we should use the available resources to perform the Haj," he said when met by reporters at the Johor Government's Haj Pilgrimage Group 1445H/2024M sending off ceremony at the Senai International Airport (LTAS) here today. Azmi, who lost his wife last year, added that his eldest daughter Rashimah, 42, and her husband will also perform the Haj with him, which will help him during his stay in the Holy Land. Besides Azmi, a family of seven also had the chance to perform the Haj together after a 15-year wait. Prof Dr Safian Sharif, 63, a father of three, shared that the call from Tabung Haji brought joyful news for his family, who had registered in 2009. 'Alhamdulillah, besides my wife and three children, my two sons-in-law also got the chance to perform the Haj together with us. Our feelings are indescribable at this moment, extremely grateful and happy that Allah has chosen all of us to perform the Haj together this year,' said the director of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Pagoh Campus, who has performed the pilgrimage twice before. Earlier, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi had bid bon voyage to 137 Haj pilgrims from Johor, who were the last group from the state to depart for Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from LTAS before continuing their journey directly to Makkah via flight MH8408 at 8 pm tonight. Source: BERNAMA News Agency