JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy has assured that the country’s hajj fund has been managed properly.
The statement was made to respond to public queries about a total of 150 trillion rupiahs ($10.5 billion) haj fund which is collected from would-be pilgrims.
“I guarantee that the hajj fund is managed properly,” Muhadjir said in a press statement on Saturday, June 5.
“As of today, the total haj funds reached 150 trillion rupiahs and it has been properly managed. I understand that people have made queries on the collected hajj funds so far,” he said.
He further added that as information nowadays is accessible by anyone, some people easily spread misleading information to the public. This includes reports that hajj funds had been used to invest in infrastructure projects.
Muhadjir then immediately visited the office of Hajj Fund Management Agency, known by its Indonesian acronym BPKH, in Jakarta on Friday, June 4.
Based on the information received, he said that the management of hajj funds by BPKH has gone very well. “We can assure that the hajj fund has been managed prudently and responsibly,” the senior minister said.
He said that the speculation circulated in public was untrue. BPKH, he said, is an independent and professional body that cannot be interfered with by anyone. Therefore, the hajj fund management can be accounted for objectively.
Muhadjir said that as Indonesia has canceled sending Muslim pilgrims to the hajj in Saudi Arabia this year, it should be seen positively by the people because the decision aimed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“The number of prospective Indonesian hajj pilgrims reach hundreds of thousands. It is not easy to ensure the health and safety of many people [amid the Covid-19 pandemic],” he said.
He explained that although the choice to be made was bitter and disappointing, the decision was for the good of the people. “Hopefully, this bitter decision is actually a panacea for all of us. It's not something we should regret. Hopefully, next year we will be able to go,” he said.
Previously, Indonesia has officially canceled sending Muslim pilgrims to the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, after the country left out Indonesia from a list of 11 countries that are permitted to send pilgrims to the annual ritual.
Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas pointed out that the ban applies to all Indonesian nationals that go on a pilgrimage through the Indonesian hajj quota or other means.
Indonesia has canceled the hajj pilgrimage for the second year in a row due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This decision certainly makes the waiting list for prospective pilgrims longer.
BPKH head Anggito Abimanyu said the number of waiting lists for prospective hajj pilgrims per day has reached more than five million people. If the annual quota for the Indonesian hajj remains at 220,000 people, it will take at least 22 years to complete the departure of all prospective pilgrims.
(Writer: Dian Erika Nugraheny | Editor: Krisiandi)
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