The Religious Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday that the government would welcome an expanded haj quota to end waits for the pilgrimage that last up to 39 years.
“The haj quota is the domain of Saudi Arabian government. Alhamdulillah (thank God), if it is willing to provide a bigger quota to us,” Ahda Barori, the ministry’s director of the haj domestic service, told The Jakarta Post.
Ahda made the statement following President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo's request to Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman during a bilateral meeting in Hangzhou, China, to consider the possibility of Indonesia getting the unused portions of haj quotas from other countries or obtaining a larger haj quota.
The ministry's attempt to persuade the Saudi government to increase its haj quota was also a response to the arrest of 177 Indonesians in Manila for trying to use places left empty in the Philippine’s underused quota.
Ahda added the longest waiting time for pilgrims was in the Sidrap regency in South Sulawesi at 39 years, while the shortest was in Seluma regency, Bengkulu, at seven years. (wnd/dan)