Saudi Arabia has reduced the number of Singaporean pilgrims it will allow into the Kingdom this year by 20 per cent.
This means that only 544 Singaporeans will be able to perform the pilgrimage during the coming haj season. Officially, Singapore's haj quota each year is 680, or 0.1 per cent of its Muslim population. This is based on an Organisation of the Islamic Conference Agreement.
The reduction is due to the many major development and upgrading projects taking place in the vicinity of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, in particular the expansion of the Mataf area. This 20 per cent reduction is applicable to all countries.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim has indicated that in view of Singapore's already small official quota, he would be writing an appeal letter to the Saudi Haj Minister to consider exempting Singapore from the 20 per cent reduction.
Allocation of places for performance of haj is based on the order of registration number. Since April 10, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore has informed all successful applicants who fall within the first 680 places to confirm that they will be performing haj this year.
As of June 19, 427 successful applicants have confirmed that they will be performing haj. The balance of 117 places is still extended to applicants in the order of their registration number.