Minister suggests incentives for volunteers helping elderly pilgrims

Medina, Saudi Arabia (ANTARA) – Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy suggested an incentive provided for pilgrims who volunteered to accompany the elderly in the Hajj pilgrimage this year.The coordinating minister’s suggestion is conveyed after witnessing that many elderly Hajj pilgrims being accompanied by fellow pilgrims hailing from the same place of origin. “I see in Mecca a lot of pilgrims voluntarily accompanying (the elderly) though they are not from the same family. Hence, I suggest the Religious Affairs Ministry to show someappreciation to them,” Effendy stated here on Saturday. He explained that the trend followed Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas’ decision not to allow the elderly to be accompanied by their own family member, and Indonesian Hajj officers will take over the duty. family member accompanying the elderly for Hajj will disadvantage other prospective Hajj pilgrims who have waited for their departure for years since the family member is not in the queue for the Hajj quota, he explained. “This year, our attention should be focused on the elderly pilgrims, though I support Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Choili Qoumas’ decision to prohibit family accompaniment because it will cause inequity,” the coordinating minister said. Consequently, the authority should better prepare their team to accompany elderly Hajj pilgrims and to ensure no elderly are left behind, he added. Effendy also conveyed that President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi’s) message for Hajj pilgrims to perform their ritual as well as possible and maintain their health, as not all Muslims got the chance for Hajj this year. “Perform the pilgrimage properly, make the most of this rare opportunity because not all Muslims in Indonesia get the chance (to perform Hajj pilgrimage),” he said. Besides assured financial conditions, departures of Indonesian Muslims for the pilgrimage also hinged on the annual Hajj quota allocation from the Saudi authority, Effendy noted. The president also asked all parties to be attentive to the elderly pilgrims who need special care, the minister added. Related news: Minister Effendy checks facilities for Hajj pilgrims in Mecca

Source: Antara News Agency