SEPANG – More Malaysians will be able to perform the Haj next year when the Saudi Arabian government reviews the Haj quota for various countries with the completion of Makkah’s Masjidil Haram (Grand Mosque) development and expansion project.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said that based on the discussion with the head of the Southeast Asia Muassasah Division, it was understood that the quota for all countries involved would be reviewed upon completion of the project.
“Insya-Allah (God willing), if the expansion project which is expected to be ready at the end of next year could be completed earlier, it could hasten the Haj pilgrim quota increase,” he said at a news conference after arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here, from Jeddah today.
The Saudi Arabian government has been giving a quota of 0.1 per cent from the total population of each member country of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), including Malaysia.
Since 2009, the Saudi government had allocated 27,900 places each year for Malaysian Haj pilgrims, but the figure was reduced by 20 per cent to 22,320 since last year following development and expansion works at the Masjidil Haram.
Jamil Khir said the latest quota for Malaysia would be announced after a Haj meeting later.
Until May this year, 1.5 million Muslims in this country had registered to perform the Haj.
Meanwhile, Jamil Khir said 10 Malaysian pilgrims had died in the Holy Land this time while 81 were receiving treatment – 75 at the Tabung Haji Hospital and six at a Saudi hospital.
He said the first batch of Haj pilgrims was expected to arrive at KLIA here at 9pm this Friday and the last flight, at 6.30am on Nov 6. – BERNAMA