SINGAPORE - From February, Muslims in Singapore will once again be able to register for the haj, three years after applications were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Singapore is allocated 900 places for the annual pilgrimage in 2023, equivalent to its quota before the pandemic, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said on Monday.
Registration for the haj can be done online through the new MyHajSG portal from Feb 21, it added.
The online registration system, which can be accessed using national identification system Singpass, will remove the need for prospective pilgrims to register in person, Muis noted.
MyHajSG aims to make it easier for pilgrims here to manage their haj applications, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli in a Facebook post on Monday.
“With this new portal, fresh applicants can now view their application status, amend registration details as well as make payments directly, at their convenience.”
The haj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and Muslims who are physically and financially able to do so are expected to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.
Singapore was initially granted a quota of 407 spots for the haj in 2022, but this was later increased to 900.
Mr Masagos – who is currently leading a Singapore delegation at the Conference and Exhibition for Haj and Umrah Services in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – said he has signed an agreement with Dr Tawfiq Bin Fawzan Al Rabiah, the Saudi Minister of Haj and Umrah, for the pilgrimage in 2023.
Mr Masagos said Dr Tawfiq had assured him that Singapore’s request for more haj places would be reviewed.
He added that Muis will work closely with the Saudi authorities and travel agencies here for packages for the haj, which will take place in June.
The 900 places will be allocated to those who have already registered and can meet the conditions and requirements for the 2023 pilgrimage.
Muis said it will notify eligible pilgrims over the next few days, and urged registrants to update their contact details as well as those of their next-of-kin in the MyHajSG portal, so that they can be contacted if offered a place.
It noted that as at January 2020, 35,000 prospective pilgrims had registered in the Advance Haj Registration System for their turn to perform the pilgrimage.
“With the restoration of its annual quota as the kingdom of Saudi Arabia resumes post-pandemic operation of the haj, Singapore is now able to begin clearing the current backlog in the Advance Haj Registration System and allow new applications for haj by prospective pilgrims,” said the council.
It added that the application fee for the haj – which was $240 pre-pandemic – will be increased to $285 from 2024 until end-2025, and go up to $330 from 2026. The amounts exclude GST.
The higher fees are necessary to cover the increasing cost of administering the haj registrations, Muis said.
Until then, new registrants need to pay an application fee of only $240, with Muis subsidising each registration by $90 “in recognition of the current economic conditions as we move out from the pandemic”.