The Straits Times
Published on Oct 16, 2012

Muslim community should prepare to accept lower haj visa allocation


THE MUSLIM community here must be prepared to accept the original allocation of 680 haj visas, and make plans based on that, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim said in Parliament on Tuesday.

He was responding to a question from Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) on how the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) plans to address the shortage of visas for Singapore Muslims to go on the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca. The shortage is due to Singapore being allocated a much lower quota recently.

Dr Yaacob clarified that Singapore's official Haj quota has always been 680 visas, but that the Saudi Government had generously been granting Singapore 1,500 additional visas for the past four years.

"This year, the Saudi Government is unable to give us extra places in view of massive construction work around Mecca. This applies to all countries and is not unique to Singapore," he said.