Brunei Haj quota to remain 400 this year

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THE quota for Bruneian Haj pilgrims this year will remain at 400.

This was said by Hj Matuddin Hj Tahir, an official from the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) Haj Department when contacted by The Brunei Times yesterday.

He said that this is to ensure the pilgrims’ safety and comfort while performing the Haj.

In 2012, the quota for Bruneians pilgrims was reduced to 400 (from almost thousand pilgrims) due to the ongoing mega upgrading project of the Two Grand Mosques — Mekah’s Great Mosque (Masjidil Haram) and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

According to the department, there are currently around 1000 people who are in the waiting list to perform Haj.

The limited quota addresses the safety aspect of the pilgrimage as a smaller number is easier to manage. However, to address the requirements of pilgrims in terms of comfort and increase on the price has to be taken into account.

“Despite ongoing discussion on the need to reduce the cost, there is a possibility that the price will be similar to that of last year or may increase due to the rental hike on accommodations and hotels in Saudi Arabia,” he said

Hj Matuddin said that the accommodations’ rent at Masyair (locations that include Arafat, Mudzalifah and Mina) are increased recently and officials from the Ministry had discussed with the Saudi Arabia’s government to reduce the price.

“The price for one person’s accommodation at Mina last year was 6000 riyal (more than $2000). But now the price is increased to 8000 riyal (close to $3000),” he said, adding that they managed to decrease it to 7000 riyal.

He said that the price setting is not under the Haj Department’s jurisdiction but it’s the responsible of operating agencies.

“We just can advice them to offer good packages. We encourage them to not increase the price but they cannot do so as the package usually includes many facilities, such as transportation, hotel, accommodation at Mina, Arafah and Mekah, foods, and airplane tickets.

Currently, there are four companies that have been approved to operate Haj and Umrah packages for a period of three years, starting from 1437 to 1439 Hijrah (2016 to 2018).

The department will still accept new registration for Haj until April 9 and interested applicants may collect the registration form at the MoRA’s main building in Berakas or offices in other districts.

The Brunei Times