Government Preparing Strategy to Deal with Long Wait for Hajj

Jeddah, 16 Dzulhijjah 1437/18 September 2016 (MINA) – The government is preparing a strategy to shorten the waiting list of Indonesian would-be hajj pilgrims, Antara repoted.

Currently, people have to wait for more than 20 years in certain regions to make the pilgrimage.

The strategy includes according priority to pilgrims who have not made the pilgrimage in the past and also seeking transfer of quota from other countries.

“The government is not remaining a moot witness. We continue our efforts to find the best ways to shorten the waiting list,” said the Minister of Religious Affairs, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, just before he was to return to Indonesia.

He explained that the government has prepared a regulation as per which the entire Indonesian hajj quota could be used by Indonesian citizens who had never been on pilgrimage in the past.

“Although the percentage of those who had undertaken the hajj pilgrimage in the past and also availed of a chance this hajj season is small, a mere 1.6 percent of the total quota, yet it amounts to a big number in absolute terms. It is possible that next year only those pilgrims embark on the journey who have never gone for hajj earlier,” he elaborated.

The quota for Indonesian hajj pilgrims for the regular service in 2016 is 155,200.

The second strategy that the government plans to adopt is to utilize the quotas of other countries which do not fully exhaust them.

However, this will require not only bilateral talks between Indonesia and such countries but also an approval of the Saudi Arabian government.

“Intensive efforts will be made for the purpose in the future,” he assured.

He informed that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has verbally agreed to let Indonesia utilize the unabsorbed quota of his country. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)