Saudi Arabia ambassador assures hajj quota would be increased

The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Osama Mohammed Al Shuibi, has pledged to increase the hajj quota for Indonesia.

“We know that the Haram Mosque in Mecca is undergoing renovation. However, we will increase the hajj quota for Indonesia,” Osama Mohammed Al Shuibi said after a meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla here on Tuesday.

The hajj quota for each country will be determined after the renovation work at the Haram Mosque in Mecca is completed.

Regarding the feasibility of Indonesia availing of the unused Hajj quota of the Philippines and Singapore, Osama made it clear that it will not happen.

“The quota has been formulated on the basis of the population of Muslims in each country and therefore, these cannot be changed or exchanged for one another,” he remarked.

However, with the ongoing renovation of the Haram Mosque in Mecca for over three years now, Indonesias quota of 211,000 was reduced to 168,000. As a result, the already long waiting list of Indonesian hajj pilgrims became even longer.

The ambassador promised to facilitate visas for Indonesian hajj pilgrims.

On the occasion, Osama and Kalla did not address the issue of umrah (minor pilgrimage to Mecca).

Both discussed ways to improve relations between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

“We talked about business, religious affairs, culture, media and investment,” he informed.

The ambassador noted that Saudi Arabia has urged Indonesia to provide investment opportunities for Saudi Arabias businessmen.

Eight more Indonesian pilgrims had passed away in Mecca on Oct 4, two days before the end of the Hajj season, bringing the death toll to 313 so far.

Most deaths occurred due to natural causes, such as old age or respiratory ailments, according to information dispensed by the Hajj Computerization Information System here on Tuesday.

As of Oct. 3, 90,410 regular-scheme Indonesian pilgrims and 1,120 Hajj officers have returned home aboard 224 flights. Also, 10,001 non-regular Hajj pilgrims have returned to Indonesia, according to Nurul Badruttamam of the Indonesian Hajj Organizing Committee.

Some 155,200 Indonesian Muslims have taken part in the regular Hajj, organized by the Indonesian government in 2016. In addition, several thousand others have performed the Hajj through non-regular schemes.

Source: Antara News