Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel expects the additional quota for Indonesian hajj pilgrims to reach 250 thousand during the hajj season next year.

Ambassador Maftuh voiced his aspiration while speaking at a prestigious academic forum held by the Saudi Arabian Journalists Forum "SIHAFIYYUN" at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce Building, Saudi Arabia, recently.

"During the forum, I explained about the waiting period for Hajj in Indonesia, which can be up to 20 years. At the forum, I seek an additional quota of 30 thousand for pilgrims during next year's hajj season, with a better design to improve the accommodation capacity in Mina," Ambassador Agus Maftuh informed Antara via a short message service received here on Saturday.

The Indonesian ambassador became one of the speakers at the international seminars themed "al Mamlakah, Masirah Tarikh fi Khidmah dhutuf ar-Rahman" or "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Travel and History in Serving the Guests of Allah" that examined the management of Hajj.

At the seminar, the Indonesian ambassador lauded the Government of Saudi Arabia for the facilities and services provided to Indonesian pilgrims and extraordinary welcome ceremonies by the Kingdom to the pilgrims not existing earlier.

He explained that the additional quota is expected to increase the number of Indonesian pilgrims to 250 thousand, so it could shorten the waiting time for Hajj departures.

According to the ambassador, the increase in the quota has not been in line with the improvement in capacity accommodation in Mina.

Several solutions exist to solve the accommodation problems in Mina that can currently only provide 0.9 square meters per person. The solution is building multi-storey camps in Mina, utilizing hotels located close to Mina, and providing campsites outside Mina, with adequate access to Mina.

Meanwhile, Prince Faisal bin Sultan Al Saud, who spoke at the forum, also lauded Indonesia for having sound coordination with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

According to the prince, such efforts made Indonesians known as the most disciplined and obedient pilgrims to the rules set by the Saudi Government.

Prince Faisal also emphasized that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is serious about providing services to all pilgrims from around the world and preparing various infrastructure to provide comfort for the guests of Allah, in which the number of Indonesian pilgrims is the largest in the world.

The prince expressed hope that Indonesia would share its experiences of managing Hajj activities with other countries.

Meanwhile, Nuwayer Al-Shalawiy, a female activist, who is also a project manager at the Saudi Ministry of Health, stated that Indonesian pilgrims are known for maintaining cleanliness and health while being in the Masyair Muqaddasah, which covers the areas of Mecca, Medina, Arafat, and Mina.

At the forum, Ambassador Agus Maftuh delivered SAUNESIA (Saudi-Indonesian) badges to the participants and pinned it on the robe of Prince Faisal bin Sultan Al Saud as a mark of Indonesia`s recognition for the bilateral relations that are in a golden period.

The international seminar was attended by Prince Faisal bin Sultan Al Saud, several ambassadors, academics, hajj researchers, and the mass media.

In addition to Ambassador Maftuh, several speakers at this annual forum were Dr. Nabil Haidar from England and a Hajj researcher from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Aiman Bana.

Editing by S.Haryati

Reporter: Libertina W. Ambari
Editor: Bambang Purwanto
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