Support for Elderly Haj Pilgrims
Response to parliamentary question on the measures in place to support and assist the elderly Haj pilgrims
29 September 2023
Written PQ 4910. Dr Wan Rizal: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) what measures are being taken to ensure that sufficient support and assistance are provided to elderly haj pilgrims during the haj; (b) how are the costs being managed to ensure affordability for elderly pilgrims; and (c) what are the implications for manpower and resources on MUIS.
- The Singapore Pilgrims’ Affairs Office (SPAO) under MUIS provides medical services and facilities to Singapore pilgrims in Medina, Mecca and Shisha.
- For the Haj 2023 season, about 60% of the Singapore pilgrims were 60 years old and above. SPAO appointed 19 medical personnel to operate on-site medical facilities and be on standby to attend to pilgrims off-site during the Haj pilgrimage period in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). SPAO also worked closely with the Haj travel agents to assist pilgrims, especially the elderly, to book medical clinic appointments via the PilgrimSG app to minimise waiting time. For emergency medical services, SPAO worked with the KSA’s medical service provider on the provision of medical supplies and ambulance services for the prompt transportation of pilgrims to hospitals.
- A total of 30 Haj packages were offered by the MUIS-appointed Haj travel agents this year, costing approximately between S$8,400 and S$22,600, depending on the duration of stay and type of accommodation. The cost of Haj packages is also dependent on various services provided and charged by the KSA Haj service providers. MUIS will continue to monitor the costs of Haj packages and engage the KSA Haj service providers, as well as the Association of Muslim Travel Agents Singapore (AMTAS), on feasible measures to manage the cost of the Haj.
- The Haj travel agents are also responsible for managing the safety and welfare of Singapore pilgrims, including the elderly, during Haj under the Deed of Appointment (Haj Packages). MUIS will work with the appointed Haj travel agents, AMTAS and the KSA Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to ensure there is sufficient manpower and resources to support elderly pilgrims.
- Prospective pilgrims are also advised to make early preparations to perform their Haj, such as participating in health programmes. An example is the “Get Fit for Haj” programme, which is a series of activities specially curated to help prospective pilgrims improve their fitness level and learn more about leading a healthy lifestyle to prepare them for Haj. A total of 500 pilgrims have benefited from this joint effort by MUIS, AMTAS, the Health Promotion Board (HPB), and the Muslim Healthcare Professionals Association (MHPA).
Last updated on 19 September 2023