SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore should prepare for the possibility that Australia may ban live animal exports completely.
Writing on his Facebook page on Friday, Mr Lee sends his greetings to all Muslims here and abroad, wishing them Selamat Hari Raya Haji (or Salam Aidiladha) during this holy day.
He said Friday marks the end of the Haj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Millions of Muslims have gathered in the holy city of Mecca.
He noted that unfortunately, this year Saudi Arabia has accepted fewer pilgrims as it is redeveloping the area around two mosques.
Singapore’s Haj quota was also reduced, even though Mr Lee had written to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to request more places.
Mr Lee said he hoped that those who were unable to go this year would get the chance to do so before too long.
Muslims also perform the Korban sacrifice on Friday to celebrate Prophet Ibrahim’s faith in God.
He said both he and Minister—in—charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim were initially quite worried that the Korban ritual in Singapore might be affected by Australia’s stringent new regulations on live sheep exports.
Fortunately, 16 mosques passed the Australian audits and were able to import 2,500 sheep for the ceremony.
Mr Lee said when he met Australian PM Julia Gillard in Canberra recently, he thanked her for her government’s help on this matter.
She had told him that her government wants to continue exporting live animals.
But Mr Lee said he knows that Australian animal welfare groups are pressing strongly to ban live exports completely, as New Zealand has done.
Mr Lee said Singapore should be prepared for this possibility, and work out alternative arrangements in future.
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