The House of Representatives hopes the upcoming visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud will not only turn into a ceremonial symbol of the king honoring Indonesia’s position as the world’s largest Muslim population but could also benefit the relationship between the two countries, a lawmaker has said.
House deputy speaker Taufik Kurniawan said Monday that during the visit, the government should hold an intensive dialog with its Saudi Arabian counterparts on how Indonesia could play a greater role to help reduce conflict in the Middle East and the spread of extremist teachings.
“[The dialogue] should help create ideas that can combat terrorism and eliminate the spread of radicalism,” Taufik said.
The National Mandate Party (PAN) lawmaker also suggested the visit could be a chance for Indonesia to negotiate an increase in the country’s haj quota because as the biggest haj pilgrim sender to Mecca every year, Indonesia should have stronger bargaining power.
Saudi Arabia has given a haj quota of 211,000 people for Indonesia, and this year it has agreed to allow 10,000 more.
He further said problems affecting Indonesian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia should also be one of the main discussions during King Salman’s visit. “Strong bilateral relations between the two countries should pave the way for more intensive discussions on how to ensure the safety, protection and improved welfare of Indonesian migrant workers,” Taufik said.
King Salman will be in Indonesia from March 1 to March 9 for a state visit.