SINGAPORE - Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli is on a week's visit to Saudi Arabia from Saturday (March 26) to Friday to discuss matters relating to the upcoming Haj season in July, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) on Sunday.
The Haj is an Islamic religious pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which saw one to two million pilgrims attending annually before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Masagos, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Second Minister for Health, will meet Saudi Minister of Haj and Umrah, Dr Tawfiq Fawzan Al Rabiah, during his visit.
He will also meet various Saudi officials and engage in dialogues with Singaporean students in Riyadh and Madinah. He is accompanied by chief executive of Muis Kadir Maideen and other senior officials.
In 2021, Muis decided not to send a delegation of pilgrims for the Haj pilgrimage due to Covid-19. It said in May last year that pilgrims who were allocated places to perform the Haj in 2020 and then deferred to 2021 would be given priority this year.
It noted that more than 38,000 people are in the queue to go for the Haj, a backlog that may take at least 39 years to clear given the current quota allocated to Singapore.
"Every year, Muis has been working closely with the Saudi authorities to request for more places for Singapore pilgrims and we will do likewise once it is safe to resume the Haj," it said on its website.