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Lawmakers grill religious affairs minister for ‘sudden’ haj cancellation

first_imgReligious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi found himself in hot water during a hearing with the House of Representatives on Thursday, as lawmakers on Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs criticized him for not consulting with the House before deciding to cancel the 2020 haj pilgrimage over coronavirus concerns.The minister announced earlier this month that Indonesia would prevent haj departures to Saudi Arabia this year, a decision that affected hundreds of thousands of would-be pilgrims in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia has the largest haj pilgrim quota of any country. John Kennedy Azis of the Golkar Party – a political party in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s ruling coalition – questioned Fachrul’s sudden announcement of the policy on June 2, saying there had been no pressure for the central government to announce it immediately without consulting the legislative body.”There was no external pressure that we would be fined if we didn’t decide [on haj departures] quickly. Why couldn’t you wait for just two days? Why so sudden?” John said, referring to a planned House hearing with the government on the matter scheduled for June 4.The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s indefinite suspension of haj and umrah (minor haj), were cited as reasons behind the government’s decision to cancel this year’s haj departure. Fachrul previously said the conditions had left the government without enough time to prepare visas and protective measures.Indonesia initially planned to send about 221,000 people on the annual pilgrimage, and nearly 180,000 people had already paid for the journey, Religious Affairs Ministry data shows. The government said the pilgrims would be placed on next year’s haj. Read also: Religious affairs minister to lobby Saudi Arabian government for bigger 2021 haj quotaFachrul said at the time of the cancellation that he had communicated with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the House regarding the cancellation, but some lawmakers quickly fired back, saying he had not done so.John said to Fachrul – a retired military general – that he had made numerous controversial moves as a minister.The politician cited his past controversial support of a ban on the niqab in government compounds – a statement that Fachrul later backtracked from – and his past announcement of a plan to repatriate 689 people who had joined the Islamic State (IS) movement in the Middle East.He warned Fachrul that the House could use its interpellation and inquiry rights against him or could write a letter to the President if he continued his controversies. “Don’t underestimate us at the House […] This should be the last [controversial move].”John also highlighted a plan floated by Aceh to get their own, separate haj quota. The provincial administration was reportedly considering issuing a qanun (regulation) on the matter based on Law No. 44/1999 on Aceh’s special autonomy.”Regions are trying to apply for haj quotas themselves. If that happens, then where’s the government?” he said.Read also: Plan to ban niqab in government offices stirs controversyMuhammad Husni of the Gerindra Party said Fachrul had violated Law No. 8/2019 on the haj and umrah, which stipulated that matters related to haj funds should not be decided unilaterally by the government but should include the House.”Logically speaking, we should decide on the cancellation together. The Minister said that he had coordinated with House Commission VIII but we never knew that,” Husni said.In response to the criticism, Fachrul apologized to the lawmakers during Thursday’s hearing, saying the cancellation decision was not made by his ministry but by himself as a minister.”I personally apologize to the leaders and all members of the House Commission VIII for this incident,” said Fachrul.The minister explained that at that time, he felt obliged to announce the cancellation as soon as possible because it had exceeded the June 1 deadline for the government to announce the year’s haj departure date.Indonesia initially expected Saudi Arabia to announce its final decision on the haj pilgrimage – which attracts millions of Muslims annually from around the world – on May 13. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the 2020 haj into doubt as Saudi authorities have yet to announce any decision about whether they will accept haj pilgrims this year.”We needed to quickly give certainty to the pilgrims who had been waiting for the announcement,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Espenido in Du30 narco list? Fake news – Palace

first_img“We really do not know the reason. Basta kami kun may order, ga-follow lang kami,” said Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, regionalpolice information officer. It was issued some two weeks afterEspenido described Bacolod City as “shabulized”. The Duterte administration has beengoing after Rappler since last year. It filed 11 cases against the online newssite, its chief executive officer Maria Ressa and its reporters. Rapplerdescribed this as a “clear form of continuing intimidation and harassment…andan attempt to silence journalists.” The Palace spokesperson, however,admitted having no idea about the narco list. But presidential spokesperson SalvadorPanelo said, “Espenido in the narco list? Sinonaglagay doon? Galing pala sa Rappler. ‘Paggaling sa Rappler eh questionable.” Combined photo of Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido (left) and Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. He was the police chief of Albuera,Leyte when the town’s then mayor Rolando Espinosa, a detained drug suspect, wasshot dead inside his jail cell in 2016 in a police operation to serve a searchwarrant. “I am saying that if it’s coming fromRappler, which is known for spreading fake news, medyo I will have to confirm whether it is true or not,” saidPanelo. “Hindiko alam kung kasali o hindi but (what) I amtelling you is we have to validate that,” Panelo said. “We will check kung totoo o hindi. Iva-validate natin ang veracity ng report.” Espenido became the face of theDuterte administration’s war against illegal drugs following two operationsthat led to the death of two prominent suspected drug personalities. Citing two police generals as sources,online news website Rappler reported yesterday that Espenido was in thePresident’s narco list.center_img The relief order from the PhilippineNational Police (PNP) national headquarters was dated Feb. 5 yet but wasreceived by the PRO-6 only on Feb. 7. For its part, the Police RegionalOffice 6 (PRO-6) stressed having no knowledge of the reasons behind Espenido’ssudden relief from the BCPO. The order came from the PNP chiefhimself, Police Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa. He reassigned Espenido to hisoffice in Camp Crame on floating status./PN Espenido was pulled out from BacolodCity Friday last week, four months after he was assigned to the BCPO by Dutertehimself. Espenido, aside from being the deputydirector for operations of the BCPO, also headed the Bacolod City DrugEnforcement Unit.  “When we received the relief order, weimmediately informed the BCPO director. The order did not state the reason,”said Malong. “Panayang huli ng pulis…Marami palang drugs,” said Espenido. As police chief in Ozamiz City in2017, Espenido led a series of drug operations that resulted to the death ofMayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others also linked to illegal drugs. MANILA – Malacañang dismissed as “fakenews” the report that Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido, former deputydirector for operations of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), was in thedrug watch list of President Rodrigo Duterte.last_img read more

Indian Premier League: I could not have asked for a better start says, Alzarri Joseph

first_imgHyderabad: Debutant Alzarri Joseph, who recorded the best bowling figures in the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) history, said he could not have asked for a better start.“It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream start. I don’t think it could get any better,” Joseph told his captain Rohit Sharma in an interview for iplt20.com after helping the Mumbai Indians beat fellow pre-tournament favourites the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by 40-runs on Saturday night here.Joseph (6/12), the 22-year-old Caribbean, not only helped the Mumbai Indians win, but he also rewrote the record books by surpassing Sohail Tanveer’s 6/14 in the inaugural edition. Joseph replaced veteran Lasith Malinga in the side. He said the moment he got to know that he will be making his debut, he just wanted it to give his all to the team.“I just wanted to go out and put all my effort into this team,” the Caribbean pacer who replaced veteran Lasith Malinga in the playing eleven, told media after the victory. “It was my first game, I just wanted to get out there on the park and get bowling and get the wickets.” IANSAlso Read: SPORTS NEWSlast_img read more