Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Religious Affairs is seeking a new system to prioritize the health condition of Hajj pilgrims over payment for future pilgrimages.

"The health condition of Hajj pilgrims is the most problematic," Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas noted in a statement on Thursday.

Therefore, he suggested that health must take precedence over the payment of Hajj expenses.

Qoumas mentioned that, during the 2023 Hajj pilgrimage, payment was made before health examination, allowing elderly pilgrims who had paid but were not in good condition to perform Hajj.

He stated that he has instructed his subordinates to develop a system for assessing the health condition of pilgrims before they make a full payment.

He acknowledged that the new system might not be easily accepted by all pilgrims.

Deputy Chairperson of Commission VIII of the House of Representatives (DPR), Ace Hasan Syadzily, expressed his support for the new system.

"Qoumas proposed conducting a health screening before full payment. It's a very good idea, and Commission VIII will consider it for the implementation of the Hajj pilgrimage in 2024," he affirmed.

The number of Indonesian pilgrims who died in Saudi Arabia this year reached 775, with the majority being elderly individuals aged 65 years and over.

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Translator: Asep F, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Anton Santoso
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