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Indonesia seeking increased quota for hajj pilgrims

By NNN-Antara,

Bengkula, Indonesia : The Indonesian government is seeking an increase in the quota of hajj pilgrims for 2011 from 211,000 in 2010 to 238,000 to meet demand.

“We are still striving to get an increase of 27,000 from the Saudi government but so far there has not been any decision about it,” religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali said here on Saturday.

The minister was here to open the 6th United Development Party (PPP) Bengkulu chapter`s regional meeting. Suryadharma Ali is the general chairman of the party.

He said the request was made based upon the latest census data on the country`s population which now reaches 237 millions.

He said if the request is met it will be divided among provinces, based on a population increase.

“If it is met we will divide it among the provinces according to the number of population,” he said.

On the cost of hajj pilgrimage for this year the minister said it was predicted to rise due to a rise in the cost of lodging, in addition to an increase in the world price of crude which would likely affect fares.

“I appealed to all would-be hajj pilgrims to be prepared for the possibility of an increase in the cost of hajj pilgrimage in view of the rise of the world crude price,” he said.

The quota for Bengkulu for 2011 now still remains at 1,614, according to the head of the people`s welfare bureau, Syaifullah.

“An increase will be divided among those on the waiting list as of March 7,” he said. According to the province`s office of the ministry of religious affairs until March 7, 2011, 5,430 are recorded on the waiting list.