Hajj Pilgrimage Cancellation sans Parliamentary Consultation Deemed a Mistake

02-06-2020 / KOMISI VIII

Chairperson of Commission VIII (religious and social affairs, women empowerment and child protection, and disaster management) of the House, Yandri Susanto, regretted the decision made by the Religious Affairs Minister, Fachrul Razi, on the cancelling of this year’s Hajj pilgrimage for Indonesian pilgrims without prior consultation with Commission VIII, saying that Razi had made a mistake and did not understand the management of rules and regulations in making strategic decisions. 

 

“The minister makes a mistake. All related to hajj should be decided together with the House. All Haj matters related to cost of Haj pilgrimage, the sum of money deposited by the haj applicants, and the time of departure and arrival, including the issue we are dealing with, the cancellation of Hajj Pilgrimage, which is a crucial issue, should be decided together with the House.” expressed Susanto to the media in Jakarta, Tuesday (2/6/2020). 

 

“The decision affects the life of considerable part of Indonesian people and the fate of hundreds of thousands (of pilgrims). But if the minister did this, I do not know whether or not the minister understands the management of rules and procedures,” Susanto criticized. He also stated that the ministry’s decision to cancel 2020 pilgrimage had violated Law No 8 of 2019 on the Management of Haj and Umrah.

 

According to him, the ministry should not be in such a hurry and should read the law carefully. “There are rules and regulations on Haj and Umrah. These two should not be decided unilaterally by the government. Please, read the law. Do not rush yourself.” said the National Mandate Party politician. 

 

Susanto went on saying that the Saudi authorities have not concluded any decision yet on this year’s Haj due to COVID-19 pandemic, even though places of worship there have already been reopened. “We have not received any report from the Saudi authorities. What if the Saudi authorities suddenly allow our pilgrims to come next week? That means that the government is irresponsible.” expressed the legislator from Banten II constituency. 

 

For that reason, Susanto said, Commission VIII planned to hold a working meeting with the minister during the recess period to discuss the issue on Thursday (4/6/2020). “The working meeting is high on the agenda on Thursday, 4th June 2020 at 10am. With the permission of the Leaders of the House, we will hold the meeting.” stated Susanto. 

 

Previously, the Religious Affairs Ministry had decided to cancel this year’s Haj pilgrimage due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was taken after careful study and due to a lack of certainty of the Saudi authorities on the opening of access to Haj pilgrims. The first batch of Indonesian pilgrims was initially scheduled to depart on 26 June 2020.  

 

Minister Razi had also previously stated that he had already communicated with several related parties, including Commission VIII, regarding the development of Haj management amid COVID-19 pandemic. “Religious Affairs Ministry has communicated with Commission VIII on the current development, in both formal communication in working meetings and informal (communication) in person. We will hold a working meeting with the commission early afternoon after this press conference.” concluded Razi in a virtual press conference, Tuesday (2/6/2020). 


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