SINGAPORE - The number of haj places for pilgrims from Singapore will be increased to 800 this year, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said on Friday (Feb 17).
"I am happy to report that we have received the good news last night that our official quota has been increased from 680 to 800," he told reporters after a tour of the newly renovated Al-Khair Mosque at Teck Whye Crescent.
Singapore has also submitted a request to further increase the quota to 1,000 at the haj ministerial meeting in Saudi Arabia last year.
Currently, the number of Singaporeans allowed to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca is 680, after a quota system was introduced to limit numbers while construction work takes place.
In September last year, Dr Yaacob, who is also the Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, had said he was "hopeful" that Singapore would get an additional 120 spots for the pilgrimage to Mecca "in the years to come".
Dr Yaacob cited two factors for his optimism, which were previous Singaporean haj pilgrims maintaining the nation's positive reputation, and the Saudi authorities being aware of Singapore's population growth resulting in greater demand.