From this year, hajj pilgrims must use regular Indonesian passports instead of the current single-trip special passport, a government official has said.
In February, Indonesia asked Saudi Arabia to delay imposing a regulation it drafted last December requiring all hajj pilgrims to hold international passports, because it would render useless the special “brown” hajj passports valid for a single trip for Indonesian pilgrims traveling this year.
But the plea was rejected, so the central government and House of Representatives agreed following a meeting earlier this week to use the “green” international passports starting with this October’s hajj season, said Abdul Ghofur Djawahir, director of hajj pilgrimage fees and services at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
“We are going to establish an interdepartmental team consisting of the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to coordinate this new system, and set up a mechanism to make the passports,” Abdul said. He said immigration officials already had a supply of 230,000 passports to cover the estimated 210,000 pilgrims.
“The allocation for the passports are already in the ministry’s budget and will not deducted from the hajj fees already paid by would-be pilgrims,” Abdul said. The passports normally cost Rp 270,000 ($26) each.
Abdul added that the government would issue a regulation-in-lieu-of law (perpu) to replace sections of the immigration and hajj laws on the hajj passport.
Each year, the Indonesian government organizes an all-inclusive hajj package for its Muslim citizens. The packages, which cover flights, accommodation, meals and local transportation, cost about $3,500 per person last year. Able-bodied Muslims who can afford the trip are obligated by their faith to perform the pilgrimage at least once.