"We will go there as soon as we get permission from the Saudi Arabian government," Cholil noted in a statement received in Jakarta, Thursday.
The minister deems this step necessary as a precautionary measure that the Indonesian government can take in the event of Saudi Arabia not opening the pilgrimage again.
This is since the COVID-19 pandemic is still rampant in most nations worldwide and is beyond anyone’s scope of projection as to when it will end.
Saudi Arabia took the decision to not open Hajj pilgrimage in 2020 and 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision has become a valuable experience, particularly for the Indonesian government, to take precautionary measures early against varied possibilities that could occur.
"We do not know when this pandemic will end. We have canceled Hajj departures twice due to this pandemic. Hence, for next year, precautionary measures must be adopted earlier on," he remarked.
The minister gauged that when compared to the global pandemic that has occurred, COVID-19 is an event that has had a major impact on the lives of people globally, including the movement across countries and continents.
"Currently, for instance, it is difficult to enter Saudi Arabia. Indonesian flights are currently not allowed to enter. This will certainly disrupt all activities," the minister pointed out.
Hence, Minister Cholil is sanguine that all parties would exercise patience and continue to pray, so that the government's efforts to prepare for the Hajj pilgrimage would run properly.
"We also expect cooperation to be able to edify prospective Indonesian pilgrims," the minister remarked.