Opening the National Work Meeting of the Ministry of Religious Affairs 2024, Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas Asks to Strengthen Community Involvement in Religious Programs.

Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has called on his staff to involve the broader community in the implementation of development programs in the religious sector.

This message was delivered by Gus Men, his affectionate nickname, during the opening of the National Work Meeting (Rakernas) of the Ministry of Religious Affairs 2024. Held in Semarang, the Rakernas carried the theme "Transforming the Ministry of Religious Affairs towards Golden Indonesia 2045".

The Rakernas was attended by 290 participants who were physically present in Semarang. Additionally, there were 10,024 work units (satker) that followed the opening online. These participants include the Heads of District/City Religious Affairs Offices (Kankemenag), Heads of Training Centers/Locations, Heads of Technical Implementation Units (UPT), Heads of Madrasahs, and Heads of Religious Affairs Offices (KUA).

"The implementation of the 2024 program should not only involve work units. The Ministry needs to strengthen the involvement of stakeholders," Gus Men stated in Semarang, Monday (5/2/2024).

Involving the community is important, Gus Men said, so that program implementation is more effective, beneficial, and targeted. According to him, the development in the religious sector is not solely the government's task, but also the community's.

Gus Men cited the aspect of improving the quality of religious education as an example. The Minister asked for managers of private Religious Higher Education Institutions (PTK), not just public ones, to be brought together to formulate strategic steps and programs to advance education.

"The consolidation of Religious Higher Education Institutions, both public and private, is very important to discuss together efforts to improve the quality of education," mentioned Gus Men.

Consolidation can also be carried out by the Ministry with religious institutions to improve the quality of harmony. The Minister appreciated the increase in the religious harmony index over the last three years, which were: 67.46 (2021), 72.39 (2022), and 76.02 (2023). Three dimensions were measured: tolerance (74.47), equality (77.61), and cooperation (76.00).

"Although it continues to rise, I believe that improving the quality of harmony will be faster if the efforts are made by strengthening community involvement," said Gus Men.

"The public can provide input based on their experiences and will definitely feel the results. The more people involved, the lighter the workload will be. This year, it is expected to start involving the community more broadly," he continued.

Rakernas Sorogan

Minister Yaqut emphasized that Rakernas 2024 is being conducted differently. There are 15 clusters prepared, and each must present their program plans to the Minister.

The 15 clusters consist of 11 first-level echelon clusters, the Personnel Bureau cluster, the Organizational and Governance Bureau cluster, the Provincial Religious Affairs Ministry Office cluster, and the cluster of leaders of State Religious Higher Education Institutions (PTKN).

"We apply the sorogan model to be more focused. I want everyone to be able to work and provide the best service to the religious community," Gus Men firmly stated.

"We will discuss one by one what will be done in 2024. The results are put into an integrity pact. There are rewards and punishments for the achievement of program implementation," he added.

The Minister hopes that through direct presentations by each Work Unit in this Rakernas, the program formulation will be better and can be implemented. Gus Men does not want Rakernas to just be a meeting forum without tangible results to follow through.

"I want us to be truly serious in Rakernas this time. Because I want the legacy that we leave in the Ministry of Religious Affairs to be truly felt by the public. Both in terms of religious services and religious education," he stated firmly.

In 2023, many achievements have been made. Gus Men asks for these to be maintained and improved. Digital transformation is also continuously optimized.

"The achievements obtained should not make us stop working hard and smart. Achievements should be a trigger to work even better," he concluded.

Golden Indonesia

The Chair of Commission VIII of the DPR, Ashabul Kahfi, appreciated the theme of the Rakernas of the Ministry of Religious Affairs 2024. According to him, this theme shows an awareness of the crucial role of the Ministry of Religious Affairs in improving religious services towards Golden Indonesia 2045.

"Golden Indonesia is a long-term vision. This vision is important for the progress of the nation. Golden Indonesia aims to create a prosperous, fair, and just society, and a country that contributes positively internationally in various fields," said Ashabul Kahfi.

The Chair of Commission VIII mentioned several important aspects towards Golden Indonesia 2045 and the role of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. For example, in the economic aspect, the development in the religious sector can encourage awareness and entrepreneurial spirit among the community and the internalization of progress values. "Thus, religious understanding impacts social behavior," he said.

In terms of education, Ashabul Kahfi continued, the role of the Ministry of Religious Affairs is undeniable. Religious education has played an important role in equalizing education with broad participation from the community.

"The country is committed to preparing equal access to education, improving quality, and producing competent and competitive human resources," he stated.

In terms of strengthening infrastructure and public services, the Ministry of Religious Affairs plays a role in increasing community awareness of the importance of maintaining public facilities. Meanwhile, in terms of diversity and harmony, the role of the Ministry of Religious Affairs is very important and crucial.

"Golden Indonesia emphasizes the importance of maintaining diversity and promoting harmony among ethnic groups, religions, and cultures as the fundamental basis for national progress. It's impossible to achieve Golden Indonesia 2045 if we continue to quarrel," he asserted.

The Rakernas of the Ministry of Religious Affairs 2024 lasted three days, from 5 to 7 February 2024. Scheduled to present were, among others, the Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Abdullah Azwar Anas, Deputy Chair of the Indonesian Ombudsman Bobby Hamzar Rafinus, Deputy for Human Development, Society, and Culture Amich Alhumami, and Deputy for Planning and Land Affairs of the IKN Authority Mia Amalia (Public Relations).