Tue, 02 Dec 2003

Ministry defends haj policy

JAKARTA: The director general for Islam and haj coordination at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Taufik Kamil, denied on Monday there was an auction for haj seats.

Taufik said the 12,000 seats for the haj pilgrimage, known as ONH Plus, were administered by three haj associations.

The three associations -- AMPUH, AMPPUH and SEPUH -- divided the 12,000 seats among 201 haj coordinators based on their performances over the last three years.

"The problem is haj coordinators receive more applications than their quota, leaving haj applicants unable to go on the pilgrimage and feeling cheated," Taufik said.

The head of AMPUH, Asrul Aziz Taba, said on Monday that 2,805 of its haj applicants failed to make the pilgrimage due to quota limitations. --Antara