Budget 2013: Haj registration policy reviewed; Includes cap on repeat applicants

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has reviewed its haj pilgrimage registration policy to give priority to first-time applicants. They will be allocated 90 per cent of places in any given year, leaving the rest of the slots for repeat pilgrims, announced Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Friday.

The review came after the Saudi Government granted Singapore its official quota of 680 last year, without the additional allocated 1,500 visas previously offered in recent years as a result of appeals made by Dr Yaacob and Muis.

The revised policy will also see repeat pilgrims, including current haj applicants, having to wait 10 years, up from the current five, before they are allowed to register to perform the haj again.

Dr Yaacob was responding to a question posed on Thursday by Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Education and Manpower) Hawazi Daipi on developments in the haj pilgrimage registration system.