Yaacob meets returning pilgrims, says Singapore will appeal for higher official haj quota

About 120 pilgrims returning from their haj journeys in Saudi Arabia were greeted by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim after they touched down at Changi Airport on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
About 120 pilgrims returning from their haj journeys in Saudi Arabia were greeted by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim after they touched down at Changi Airport on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
About 120 pilgrims returning from their haj journeys in Saudi Arabia were greeted by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim after they touched down at Changi Airport on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
About 120 pilgrims returning from their haj journeys in Saudi Arabia were greeted by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim after they touched down at Changi Airport on Sunday morning. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Mr Jamallvdin A. Latiff (left), 60, and his wife Fatiman Mohan (left), 59, together with their son Mohd Suffian, 30, at Changi Airport Terminal 3. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Mr Jamallvdin A. Latiff (left), 60, and his wife Fatiman Mohan (left), 59, together with their son Mohd Suffian, 30, at Changi Airport Terminal 3. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - About 120 pilgrims returning from their haj journeys in Saudi Arabia were greeted by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim after they touched down at Changi Airport on Sunday morning.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, told reporters that the pilgrimage had gone smoothly this year.

"Based on my interaction with the pilgrims that came back this morning, they were quite happy with all the arrangements," he said.

This year, nearly 1.4 million people 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 to do so.

Dr Yaacob added that Singapore will be appealing to raise the official haj quota next year. All 680 places for this year's haj were filled.

He will be pushing for the official quota to be raised to 800 next year.

"We will have to try and appeal again, because the demand is increasing," he said.