Singapore granted additional places for haj pilgrimage this year

Muis did not specify how many additional places have been granted by Saudi Arabia. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - More Muslims here will be able to perform the haj this year, as Singapore has been allocated a greater quota for the annual pilgrimage.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) gave the update on Monday (June 20), but without specifying how many additional places have been granted by Saudi Arabia.

The places will be allocated to potential pilgrims who have already registered in the Muis advance haj registration system, it said.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Muis said it is currently working with Saudi authorities on the additional haj spaces and will provide the final number allocated "in due time".

The council added that the take-up of all places needs to be confirmed over the next few days, and that it will be contacting those who qualify, to offer them a slot and proceed with the required actions.

Muis is working with appointed travel agents and Saudi authorities over arrangements to accommodate the bigger number of pilgrims.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, who is leading Singapore’s haj delegation this year, said he was “delighted that even more Singaporean Muslims will be able to fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam this year”.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to the Saudi Haj and Umrah Ministry for their generosity and hospitality in granting us the additional places,” said Mr Masagos in a Facebook post. 

“Given the short turnaround time, please let Muis know your response within the time given, so that they can help to secure your visas and other arrangements,” he added.

It was previously announced that 407 pilgrims from Singapore would be travelling to Saudi Arabia for the haj in the coming weeks - the first time Muslims here have been able to participate since the Covid-19 pandemic began two years ago.

This is fewer than half the official quota of 900 allowed before the pandemic.

Muis said in May that places in this year's quota would be allocated to those who were supposed to perform the haj in 2020, and meet the conditions and requirements for this year.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.