Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening Ceremony of the 34th Nahdlatul Ulama Conference of 2021, in Central Lampung Regency, Lampung Province, 22 December 2021

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 22 Desember 2021
Category: Remarks @en
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Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.
Alhamdulillahi rabbil alamin, washalatu wassalamu ‘ala asrafil ambiya’i wal mursalin, sayyidina wa habibina wa syafiina wa maulana Muhammadin, wa ‘ala alihi wasahbihi ajma’in. Amma ba’du.

Honorable Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia and the Advisory Council (Mustasyar) of Nahdlatul Ulama Prof. Dr. KH. Ma’ruf Amin and Madame;

Honorable Supreme Leader (Rais Aam) of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) Bapak KH. Miftachul Akhyar and all members of the legislative board (Syuriyah);

Honorable Chairman of the Executive Board of Nahdlatul Ulama Prof. Dr. KH. Said Aqil Siradj and all members of the executive board (Tanfidziyah);

Honorable Chairman and Leaders of State Institutions;

Honorable the 10th and 12th Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia Bapak Drs. Jusuf Kalla;

Honorable Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet attending this event, all board members of PBNU’s Mustasyar,

Distinguished Islamic Scholars (kiai), board members of educational affairs (Masyayikh), Governor of Lampung Province, and all Regents and Mayors attending this event;

Honorable Nahdlatul Ulama board members at regional, branch, and district levels throughout Indonesia, participants of the conference;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly, on behalf of the Government, the people, and the country, I would like to extend my highest gratitude and appreciation to Nahdlatul Ulama that has supported the Government so in this pandemic time the ummah remain calm, the people remain calm.

Secondly, I would also like to extend my appreciation to Nahdlatul Ulama that played a role in calling on the people to implement health protocols and to enthusiastically participate in COVID-19 vaccination program. Indeed, I can see that the call of the Islamic scholars and ulema have made positive impact since it has raised awareness of the people to get vaccinated.

In the beginning of the vaccination program when AstraZeneca vaccine initially came out, many regions refused to use it, whereas we had a lot of AstraZeneca vaccine stock at that time. Then suddenly, some Islamic scholars from East Java called me, “Pak President, please send us all the vaccine stock to East Java province, we will accept it.” The next day, I visited East Java province, and the Islamic scholars were gathering together and they really accepted the vaccine. Afterwards, other regions, one by one, were willing to accept [the vaccine stock]. This is due to the ulemas, the Islamic scholars, that have been calling on the people to get vaccinated.

We are all aware that in July, in the mid of July to be exact, on 15 July, we were in a very frightened moment, it was terrifying. All hospitals in Java and Bali islands were overwhelmingly occupied, lacking of oxygen stocks and medicines. The daily case reached 56 thousand, 56 thousand, so the hospitals were overwhelmed. All the hospital halls were packed with patients queueing to get into ICUs.

Alhamdulillah, due to the support given by Nahdlatul Ulama, yesterday the cases, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, the daily cases are at 216 throughout the country. If we have 514 regencies/cities with 216 cases, then it means there is only a half case in every city and regency.

Furthermore, on vaccination, until today we have injected 263 million doses of vaccine to the people. Bapak Kiai can imagine how to inject 263 million doses of vaccine, it is a very complicated job, very complex, indeed. Not to mention, how the vaccines were distributed to remote places, such as to mountains and small islands, by riding boats or motorbikes, and carrying the cooler boxes for the vaccines.

Once again, alhamdulillah, we have reached 263 million doses, the first dose is at the rate of 73.9 percent, second dose is at 51.8 percent. We hope to reach the rate of 70 percent to prevent the spread of this COVID-19. Also, today, the vaccine injected to children aged 6–11 have reached one million doses. It is such an excellent speed, alhamdulillah.

However, we have to remain cautious and careful due to the Omicron variant that has spread all over the world. Currently, there are already 83,000 cases worldwide, including in Indonesia. So, once again, I really appreciate the health protocols implemented in this Conference and assisted by the [COVID-19] Task Force. Insya Allah, all of us will be going back to our hometown in a healthy condition.

On Ummah Economy, we are aware that the issue of even distribution is a common concern, as mentioned by Chairman of the Executive Board of Nahdlatul Ulama. Indeed, frankly speaking, even distribution is not an easy thing to do. However, I see that the strength of Nahdlatul Ulama is in the smart young generation, the smart Islamic students (santris), graduated from top universities all over the world. If this strength can serve as a locomotive, I am sure it can pull the trains (other elements) to cooperate in order to gain common welfare.

I suggest to create an opportunity for the young generation to establish a company or a business group. And for the Government, I can provide a concession that can be used as a farming land. Also, I intend to prepare for concession of mineral and coal. So, if you want to run businesses in the industries of nickel, coal, bauxite, and copper, please do it. Bear in mind, once again, do it in a large business group, so it can pull other elements to enjoy [the welfare]. This shall take a lot of work, but I see that Nahdlatul Ulama has the potential to do so.

Concerning technology, I also see that Nahdlatul Ulama has so many Islamic students (santris) who are experts in technology and who are doctoral degree holders. In the future, like it or not, we have to master technology. We want technology to bring benefits to the ummah, the community, and the people, not to bring negative impacts to our people.

Five years ago, I still remember clearly, I met the owner of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. At that time, he asked me to play ping-pong without a ping-pPong ball and ping-pong table. We were wearing oculus glasses, and then played together. It felt like playing real ping-pong, a hundred percent exactly, and I was sweating. He then whispered to me,” President Jokowi, this is just the beginning. In the future, everything will be virtual. One day, metaverse will emerge, virtual restaurant, virtual office, virtual tourism, and virtual mall.” We must be fully aware of this.

Since Nahdlatul Ulama addressed the theme “Providing Service for Global Civilization,” please be aware that, indeed, we must have influence in the civilization, so it will bring benefits to mankind all over the world, especially to the people in our country Indonesia. In the future there will be virtual preaching (dakwah) and virtual Qur’an reciting, but it is like we do it in a real meeting, not like today’s video conference, no. Metaverse will make changes, maybe it is going to be five years or ten years faster due to the pandemic, but it certainly will.

Therefore, together with Nahdlatul Ulama, we should be prepared for global civilization. Currently, as Indonesia leads the G20, assuming the G20 Presidency, we also want to influence global policies that stand up for poor countries, developing countries, small countries, island countries, and any issues, especially issues on digitalization, climate change, and green economy.

Lastly, once again, I would like to extend my high appreciation to Nahdlatul Ulama that has been taking care of nationalism, tolerance, plurality, the state ideology Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, and we hope that we can continue to take care of and preserve our beloved country.

I conclude my remarks in this opportune moment. By saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, in this morning, I declare the 34th Nahdlatul Ulama Conference open.

I thank you.

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

 

(AW/MMB)

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