MUIS launches new balloting scheme to allocate extra Haj slots for Singaporean pilgrims
The new scheme is open to first-time Haj pilgrims who registered between 2013 and 2017.
A new automated system will allocate extra Haj slots to Singaporean pilgrims, announced the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) on Monday (Apr 10).
This comes after several issues were faced during last year’s Haj preparations, where MUIS had to reach out to an estimated 4,000 applicants within three working days after Singapore was allocated an additional 493 Haj slots by Saudi Arabia.
A significant number of applicants in the Advanced Haj Registration System (AHRS) queue were also not ready to perform Haj, given the short notice, limited accommodation options and higher costs.
The Limited Balloting Scheme (LBS) was thus developed “to quickly and efficiently” allocate additional places, while giving advance notice to pilgrims to be ready if they are willing and able to perform the Haj, said MUIS.
To qualify for the LBS, applicants must meet Saudi Arabia’s criteria, which is set annually and may include age and health requirements. The scheme is also limited to those who would be performing Haj for the first time and have registered in the AHRS between 2013 and 2017.
MUIS hopes that the scheme will help pilgrims who are at the same time physically, mentally, spiritually and financially ready to perform Haj, but face long waiting times in the AHRS queue.
Applicants for the scheme will pay a $100 fee that will cover registration costs for processing the application and performing the balloting process. It also represents the applicant’s commitment to be ready to perform Haj.
To ease financial strains from the COVID-19 pandemic, MUIS will subsidise the application fee until 2024. Applicants in 2023 are only required to pay $50, while those in 2024 need only pay $75.
Based on the qualifying criteria, an estimated 20,000 are eligible for the LBS. MUIS will reach out to all eligible applicants via SMS and email, inviting them to register for the balloting exercise within a stipulated timeline.
Eligible applicants are advised to update their contact details through the MyHajSG portal if they are interested in participating in the balloting exercise.