The Saudi Arabian government has agreed to increase Malaysia’s haj quota by 10,000.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said he made the request during his audience with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who is also the kingdom’s deputy prime minister and defence minister, at the Al-Yamamah Palace on Tuesday (Wednesday MYT).
“When the haj situation returns to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic, we will get the additional quota for our pilgrims,” he told Malaysian media at the end of his four-day official visit to the kingdom.
Muhyiddin also said the crown prince had given a positive answer to the request as Saudi Arabia has always welcomed Malaysian pilgrims who are known to be well-behaved, well-disciplined and less problematic.
Mecca and Madinah are also undergoing expansion in order to cater to more pilgrims in future, the prime minister said.
According to Tabung Haji’s website, the Saudi Arabian government has set the haj quota for every country at 0.1% of the total population. The quota for Malaysia is currently at 31,600.
However, Muhyiddin said Malaysians need to be patient as a very limited number of pilgrims were allowed to perform the haj last year due to the global pandemic.
He said other good news arising from the meeting includes the formalisation of the Mecca Road Service initiative with the signing of a memorandum of understanding which would ease the pre-clearance process for Malaysian haj and umrah pilgrims.
This includes airport arrangements, visa and passport checks, customs procedures and other logistical arrangements.
“Malaysian pilgrims no longer need to wait for hours for immigration checks in this country. They can go straight to their waiting buses,” he said.