Bandar Seri Begawan: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to exempt Brunei Darussalam from the 20 per cent cut in the quota for 2013 Haj pilgrims imposed on all countries this Haj season. Due to this exemption, two more Haj flights have been arranged and 80 more pilgrims will leave Brunei for the Holy Land.
Saudi Arabia is expanding the two holy mosques in Makkah Al-Mukkaramah and Madinah Al-Munawarrah to accommodate more Haj and Umrah pilgrims. Saudi Arabia this year instructed all countries to send 20 per cent fewer pilgrims in view of the expansion work.
However yesterday, the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, in a press conference, revealed the latest developments regarding Brunei Haj pilgrims.
He said Brunei Darussalam has made a request to the Government of Saudi Arabia to not impose the 20 per cent reduction in Brunei's official Haj pilgrims quota of 400 pilgrims this year.
He said that the Saudi Arabian Government had decided to exempt Brunei Darussalam from the 20 per cent quota cut.
Following the Saudi decision, he said Brunei can now use the full quota of 400 pilgrims, thus 80 more Bruneians can now leave to perform the Haj.
He said the additional pilgrims are expected to leave for the Holy Land tomorrow (September 30, 2013) via flight BI97 at 745pm and the second flight on Tuesday (October 1, 2013) at 745pm. Both flights will fly to Dubai and then to Jeddah.
Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad said the Ministry of Religious Affairs would like to thank the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Embassy of the Government of Saudi Arabia in Brunei Darussalam, as well as all ministries, departments and agencies in the country who are involved in making sure everything runs accordingly.