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Extra haj visas 'unlikely this year'; system to be reviewed

Published on Oct 20, 2012 6:00 AM
Dr Yaacob and Muis president Alami Musa (third from left) with pilgrims leaving for the haj yesterday. Redevelopment works near pilgrimage sites have limited the number of visitors allowed this year. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Additional haj visas are unlikely to come through for would-be pilgrims in Singapore this year, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday.

The Saudi Arabian government is limiting the number of visitors worldwide this year due to redevelopment works near pilgrimage sites.

Because the work could take a few years, Dr Yaacob also said that the haj registration system will be reviewed to see how first-time pilgrims can be given as much opportunity as possible to go to Mecca, given the reduced number of haj visas.

He was at Changi Airport on Friday to send off a group of pilgrims to Mecca. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines, he said: "From what we've been told, no other country, whose appeal has been submitted, has received any additional quota, so let us assume that it will not be forthcoming."

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