Yaacob leads S'pore haj delegation

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim seeing off some of the Singapore haj pilgrims on Thursday.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim seeing off some of the Singapore haj pilgrims on Thursday.PHOTO: YAACOB IBRAHIM/FACEBOOK

The delegation from Singapore for the haj - the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca - is being led by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim this year.

This is as a "gesture of the Singapore Government's appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for our revised haj quota and to commemorate 40 years of bilateral ties", he said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Haj quotas - the number of pilgrims allowed by the Saudi government from each country - were reduced worldwide by 20 per cent in 2013 due to construction works near the Holy Mosque in Mecca.

In February, it was announced that the quota for Singaporean haj pilgrims had been increased to 800, up from 680 previously, a move the Singapore Government had been appealing for since 2013.

Dr Yaacob - who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security - left for Saudi Arabia on Saturday afternoon, together with 340 Singaporean pilgrims .

Joining him for the pilgrimage this year are the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, and Social and Family Development, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, as well as Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari.

"I would like to seek your prayers that all our pilgrims be blessed with good health and a safe and smooth journey throughout," said Dr Yaacob.

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 at least once in their lifetime. Some two million people from around the world are expected to perform the haj - which will end with the celebration Hari Raya Haji - this year.

Those who wish to follow updates on the Singaporean pilgrims via social media can follow Haj.SG on Facebook and Instagram, the official accounts of the Singapore Pilgrims' Affairs Office.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2017, with the headline 'Yaacob leads S'pore haj delegation'. Print Edition | Subscribe