Yaacob Ibrahim to discuss arrangements for Singaporeans peforming haj this year

Singapore's Minster-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (centre) performing the umrah (minor pilgrimage) at the Holy Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Feb 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: MUIS
Singapore's Minster-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (centre) performing the umrah (minor pilgrimage) at the Holy Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Feb 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: MUIS

SINGAPORE - Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, will meet Saudi Arabia's Minister for Haj, Dr Bandar Bin Mohammed Hajjar, on Thursday to discuss the arrangements for Singaporeans performing the haj in September.

Dr Yaacob, who is mid-way through his three-day haj ministerial visit, performed the umrah or minor pilgrimage along with the rest of his delegation at the Holy Mosque in Mecca on Wednesday.

He also met the Chairman of Muassasah (South-east Asia), which is the agency that looks after the accommodation, transportation and other services to haj pilgrims.

In a Facebook post, Dr Yaacob said: "Massive construction and redevelopment work are still ongoing at the Holy Mosque, Masjidil Haram in Makkah. These are temporary inconveniences.

 

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"Pilgrims will greatly benefit from the upcoming expanded mataf area as well as upgraded facilities and amenities when the works are completed."

Last year, nearly 1.4 million people worldwide made their way to Mecca to perform the haj, which is one of the five basic requirements of Islam that all Muslims must carry out at least once in their lifetimes, if they can afford it.

Haj quotas - the number of pilgrims allowed by the Saudi government from each country - were reduced worldwide by 20 per cent in June 2013 due to construction works near the Holy Mosque. However, small countries such as Singapore with fewer than 1,000 pilgrims each year had their quotas restored by the Saudi authorities three months later.

Singapore has, since 2013, asked for more places due to increasing demand.