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An extra 10,000 Malaysians could travel to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj, the once-in-a-lifetime obligatory pilgrimage for devout Muslims, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Wednesday.
“When the Hajj situation returns to normalcy after the Covid-19 pandemic, we will get the additional quota for our pilgrims,” Muhyiddin said, after meeting Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman in Riyadh.
The announcement came at the end of Muhyiddin’s four-day visit to the kingdom.
The Hajj usually draws up to 2 million Muslims to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.  However the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions limited the 2020 Hajj to around 1,000 people already in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has not yet announced how many people can attend the Hajj this summer.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who accompanied Muhyiddin to Saudi Arabia, said the increased quota will be “subject to the Kingdom’s approval for the Hajj this year, whether their SOPs [standard operating procedures] will limit pilgrims etc.” The annual Hajj quota is usually 0.1 per cent of the population for each of the 57 countries that are part of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.  Around 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 32 million people are Muslim, giving the country a previous quota of just under 32,000.
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