"In addition to returning our hajj quota to the previous level of 211,000, the Saudi government has also agreed to our request for an additional quota of 10,000," Jokowi said.Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has stated the Indonesian hajj quota this year has returned to the normal level of 221,000, up 52,000 from 168,800 last year.
"In addition to returning our hajj quota to the previous level of 211,000, the Saudi government has also agreed to our request for an additional quota of 10,000," Jokowi said in a press conference, along with Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and Minister/State Secretary Pratikno.
He said the increase in hajj quota was a follow up to his visit to Saudi Arabia in September 2015 and his meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Hangzhou, China, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in September 2016.
"As a follow up to the meeting, I instructed the religious affairs minister and the foreign affairs minister to hold follow-up meetings (with their Saudi counterparts)," he said.
In response to the follow up meetings, the Saudi government in this case the hajj and umrah minister decided to return the Indonesian hajj quota this year to the normal level of 211,000 including an additional quota of 10,000, he said.
The president said since 2013 Indonesia and other countries had seen their quotas cut by 20 percent due to the expansion of facilities at the al-Haram Grand Mosque in Mecca.
"Indonesia highly appreciates the Saudi government for increasing our hajj quota," he said.
Additionally, Indonesia also praised the Saudi government for its efforts to improve the quality of its services for hajj pilgrims including those from Indonesia, he said.
"Given this decision, we can make preparations for the 2017 hajj pilgrimage from now on," he said.
The president said he had also been informed of the Saudi Kings planned visit to Indonesia in March 2017.
"Of course, we warmly welcome the plan," he said.
Nearly 3 million prospective Indonesian pilgrims are currently on the hajj waiting list.(*)