Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Ministry of Religious Affairs is planning to prepare special Hajj officers to assist elderly pilgrims during the 1444 Hijriah/2023 AD Hajj period.
“We must prepare officers with special abilities in assisting and serving elderly pilgrims,” the ministry’s director general of Hajj and Umrah organizing, Hilman Latief, said in a statement received here on Tuesday.
The 1444 Hijriah/2023 AD Hajj period will be more challenging, partly because the government of Saudi Arabia has resumed the normal Hajj quota for Indonesia, namely 221 thousand, and has no longer set an age limit for pilgrims, he added.
Meanwhile, many Indonesian pilgrims who have been unable to perform Hajj since 2020 due to the implementation of restrictions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission also consist of the elderly.
“Currently, there are more pilgrims aged over 65 years than usual. This is because some of them had their departure delayed, so they gathered this year,” Latief informed.
He said he hopes that Indonesian pilgrims who were delayed in going to the Holy Land the previous year will begin to prepare themselves to meet the requirements laid down by the Saudi Arabian government as the quota for Indonesian pilgrims has been set.
The requirements include a health examination of prospective Hajj pilgrims, in accordance with the standards set by the Indonesian Ministry of Health.
“The ministry will also observe the pilgrims’ ability from a health perspective. Besides maintaining good health and physical conditions as informed by the minister, pilgrims must also prepare themselves for Hajj practice,” Latief said.
In addition, the ministry, together with Commission VIII of the House of Representatives (DPR), will soon discuss the cost of organizing the Hajj pilgrimage (BPIH), in line with the stipulation of the quota for Indonesian pilgrims for the 1444 Hijriah/2023 AD Hajj period.
“We will apply the principles of fair and sustainable financing,” Latief said.