SINGAPORE: Minister—in—charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim says the application process for the Haj pilgrimage needs to be reviewed.
This is because Singapore may not be able to receive additional places from the Saudi government in the next few years.
Some 100 pilgrims left for their Haj pilgrimage on Friday.
Dr Yaacob was at the airport to wish them well.
Singapore has an official quota of 680 places for Haj every year, but has been granted 1,500 extra places a year for the last four years.
The Saudi government was unable to grant Singapore the additional places this year because of massive construction work being carried out around Mecca.
Dr Yaacob said Singapore’s appeal for additional places this year may not be successful.
He said the Saudi government had already rejected similar appeals from other countries.
Dr Yaacob said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) will review the priority system on the Haj pilgrimage application process.
"How do you prioritise the applications, it will be very important. For example, do we want to allow repeat applicants a longer waiting time so that we can clear the first—time applicants? This is a balance, and it’s a fine judgement that MUIS will have to make its call, but we have the data for the last 20—odd years, so we can find some pseudo—scientific basis to decide what is the period that we want to do for repeat and for first—timers," he said.
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