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Jakarta Post

Ministry offers partial refund to registered pilgrims after cancelling haj

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 10, 2020   /   05:08 pm
Ministry offers partial refund to registered pilgrims after cancelling haj Haj pilgrims from Sukoharjo regency board an airplane on July 7, 2019 at Adi Soemarmo airport in Boyolali, Central Java. The government has cancelled its 2020 haj program amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Antara/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

The Religious Affairs Ministry has announced that people who had registered for this year's haj program may request a refund of their deposit, after the government cancelled this year’s haj on Tuesday due to concerns over COVID-19 transmission.

However, those registered for next year’s haj program may not request a refund of their initial deposit, only a refund of the final balance they had paid for their haj trips.

The ministry’s domestic haj services director, Muhajirin Yanis, said that at least 58 pilgrims had requested a refund, while 198,765 pilgrims from 13 "batches" had finished paying for their haj trips.

“We will process their requests [for a refund] and submit them to the BPKH in accordance with the predetermined [process],” Muhajirin said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, referring to the Haj Fund Management Agency. 

Registered pilgrims may apply for the refund by submitting an application to the heads of local haj offices in their regency or city. They must also submit the original bank receipt for their final haj payment, copies of their bank book and identity card, and an active phone number.

The haj domestic services directorate and the BPKH would process all verified applications and then transfer the refund to the registered pilgrim's bank account. 

“The process is expected to be completed in nine days,” said Muhajirin.

Read also: 'It's impossible': Indonesia holds firm on haj cancellation

In cases in which a registered haj pilgrim has died or has a permanent health condition, the haj ticket would be transferred to the pilgrim’s next of kin for next year’s program.

Muhajirin said that the ministry would work with religious counselors and its partners on the haj and umrah (minor haj) guidance group to disseminate information on the new refund policy.

Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, sends hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to fulfill their long-awaited haj obligation. As many as 221,000 pilgrims had originally registered for the government's haj program this year.

The Saudi government has granted Indonesia the largest haj pilgrim quota among participating countries, it also has the longest waiting list, with registered pilgrims waiting an average 17 years until they actually depart on their haj.

Saudi authorities have announced that both the haj and umrah, which attract millions of Muslim pilgrims from around the world, will remain suspended until further notice.