Additional Haj quota will help reduce queues: Minister

Elderly pilgrims will still be given priority. Currently, the number of senior citizens standing in the queue is 600 thousand.

JAKARTA (ANTARA) – Saudi Arabia’s additional Hajj allocation for Indonesia for 2024 will help reduce long Hajj queues in the homeland by 20,000, Religious Affairs Minister Yakut Solil Kumas said.

„This (additional allocation) is both a blessing and a challenge,” he said in a statement in Jakarta on Saturday.

According to the minister, the additional allocation is indeed good news for Indonesia, but it also poses a challenge for the country as it will push the government to move faster to prepare for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage.

With the additional quota, Indonesia will allow up to 241,000 pilgrims to make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia next year.

„We have to prepare better for it. Preparing 241 thousand people for departure is not an easy task,” said the minister.

Kumas added that he held a virtual meeting with officials of the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Hajj and Umrah Directorate in response to the good news.

Related News: Indonesia to get 20,000 extra Haj quota for 2024

He informed that he directed the officials to take steps to distribute the quota fairly.

„Older pilgrims will still be given priority. At present, the number of senior citizens in the queue is about 600 thousand. I want them to be given priority,” he said.

Following a bilateral meeting between President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, Indonesia was able to receive additional Haj quota.

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The leaders held their meeting on the sidelines of the 1st Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) in Riyadh on Friday (October 20, 2023).

During the meeting, President Widodo told the Saudi prime minister that due to long queues for Hajj in Indonesia, some prospective pilgrims have to wait up to 47 years to make the pilgrimage.

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Translated by: Assef F, Tegar Noorbitra
Editor: Uni Arisanti Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2023

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