The Jakarta Globe, Oct 28, 2014
Jakarta. President Joko Widodo, convening his inaugural cabinet meeting on Monday with his newly sworn-in ministers, said restructured ministries should prioritize streamlining their operations, while those whose structure was left untouched should get to work immediately.
Joko, who was accompanied by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, also told the ministers to focus primarily on his vision and mission statements, not on those of their respective ministries.
“Our task is to work based on the presidential vision and mission and also the work programs. There’s no such thing as a ministry’s vision anymore, but instead there’s a ministry’s operational program,” he said. “We must work in line with the directives. Contain each institution’s ego.”
The president also ordered the ministers to audit their offices and identify any potential obstacles to the implementation of work programs.
“We must not be afraid of any obstacle, including organizational changes,” the president told his ministers, adding that he had prepared a presidential decree to support the newly established ministries.
“Just start working and use whatever you have.”
Joko has merged the ministries of public works and public housing into a single Public Works and Housing Ministry. Meanwhile, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has reverted to its former incarnation as the Tourism Ministry, with the creative economy portfolio delegated to a team directly under Joko’s supervision.
The Education and Culture Ministry and the Research and Technology Ministry are now restructured as the Higher Education and Research Ministry and a separate Primary and Secondary Education and Culture Ministry.
The Environment Ministry and the Forestry Ministry have been merged into a single Environment and Forestry Ministry.
The ministries for manpower and transmigration and for underdeveloped regions are split into a Manpower Ministry and a Village and Underdeveloped Regions Development and Transmigration Ministry, while the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare has become the office of the coordinating minister for human development and culture.
Joko has also created the office of the coordinating ministry for maritime affairs, headed by former Food and Agricultural Organization director Indroyono Soesilo, which has yet to have its own office and staff.
Finding a balance
Joko announced his 34-member “Working Cabinet” after repeated delays pending the outcome of background checks performed by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Financial Transaction Report and Analysis Center (PPATK), as well as consultation with the House of Representatives on changes to some ministries.
The new lineup comprised 13 politicians and 21 professionals, but many were quick to point out that eight of the purported professionals had close ties to senior officials from the parties backing Joko, particularly Megawati Soekarnoputri, Joko’s party patron and chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).
Lucius Karus, a senior researcher for the watchdog Concerned Citizens for the Indonesian Legislature (Formappi), said that although not perfect, the lineup successfully balanced Joko’s vision for a clean government with the need to accommodated the parties that supported him.
“We have a number of state-owned enterprise directors, academics and professionals chosen for specific posts,” he said. “But there are names chosen for their affiliations to parties or to Jokowi and J.K. [Vice President Jusuf Kalla]. In fact, some names have been severely criticized by the public.”
Among those criticized was Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) says the appointment of the controversial former general to the new cabinet shows Joko is “negligent” toward human rights issues, citing Ryamizard’s involvement in military operations against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Free Papua Organization (OPM) that also claimed civilian casualties.
“Ryamizard’s appointment shows that our president is negligent toward human rights and the defense sector,” Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said on Sunday evening.
Ryamizard was Army chief of staff between 2002 and 2005 and chief of the Army’s Strategic Reserve (Kostrad) between 2000 and 2002. He has been singled out by Kontras for his role overseeing operations in Aceh and Papua.
Haris said that Ryamizard’s “sins” included his leadership role during the implementation of martial law by the Indonesian Military (TNI) in Aceh following the collapse of peace talks in 2003. A report by Human Rights Watch published in 2003 raised concerns about serious abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by both the TNI and GAM forces during this period.
Haris also cited Ryamizard’s attitude toward the death of Papuan independence activist Theys Hiyo Eluay, the late chief of the Papua Presidium Council.
Ryamizard declared after Theys’s murder in November 2001 that the Army Special Forces (Kopassus) personnel who killed him were heroes.
Four Kopassus soldiers were jailed, but not before alleging that Andika Perkasa, who Joko recently handpicked as the head of the presidential guard, had told them to take the rap.
Ryamizard, meanwhile, denied all allegations of his involvement in human rights abuses during his time in the Army.
“Go ask the journalists who went to Papua and Aceh, ask about it,” Ryamizard told journalists outside the State Palace on Monday.
He said rights activists and journalists should know he was “always clean” during his 35 years in the TNI.
Another cabinet appointment with a military background, Tedjo Edhy Purdjianto — a former Navy chief of staff who is now coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs — has been given the green light by Kontras.
The inclusion of people like Ryamizard, Lucius said, meant Joko’s administration had a tough job proving it could do its job well.
More cabinet seats
Before he was elected, Joko promised to build an “unconditional coalition” with the parties supporting him, saying that he would not bow to pressure from his supporters to include certain individuals into his cabinet.
He seemed to be consistent in his pledge, involving both the KPK and the PPATK to vet likely candidates — an unprecedented step.
He was also adamant not to allow the chairpersons of his coalition parties into his cabinet. The overall outcome seems to have upset members of his own PDI-P, which got four seats — no more than another party, the National Awakening Party (PKB).
PDI-P legislator Tubagus Hasanuddin said on Monday that he was unsatisfied with the composition of the cabinet, claiming the PDI-P should have gotten more seats.
“If seen from how many seats [each party has] in the House, it’s not fair,” Hasanuddin said. “We’re supposed to have more ministers than the PKB.”
The PDI-P, which was 109 seats in the House, has four ministers — Yasonna Laoly, Tjahjo Kumolo, Puan Maharani and Anak Agung Gede Puspayoga. The PKB, with 47 House seats, also has four ministerial positions.
The National Democrat Party (NasDem), which has 35 seats, and the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura), 16 seats, both earned two ministerial posts.
Lukman Hakim Saifuddin is the sole representative from the United Development Party (PPP), which has 39 seats in the House.
“In politics, it’s not a mathematical equation, but still, we have to pay attention to the party members’ morale to prepare for the 2019 elections,” Hasanuddin said.
“The PDI-P’s victory in the legislative and presidential election [this year] should be used as capital for the 2019 elections,” he added.
Hasanuddin said many party officials at the regional level shared his dissatisfaction with the cabinet makeup.
No party moonlighting
Joko has also demanded that party officials appointed to his cabinet must give up their party posts and concentrate on their ministerial responsibilities.
Hanif Dhakiri, who was named Indonesia’s new manpower minister on Sunday, said he would leave his position as secretary general of the PKB.
“I have to leave the position for the best interests of the nation,” he told reporters on Monday.
Puan, Megawati’s daughter and the new coordinating minister for human resources development and cultural affairs, also said she would focus on her new role.
“Eventually everyone will give up their party positions. That’s our commitment,” she said on Monday. “The party will replace us immediately.”
Puan is the PDI-P’s head of political affairs and a House legislator for the party.
Fellow PDI-P politician Tjahjo Kumolo, who is the new minister for home affairs, will give up his role as the party’s secretary general — Megawati’s number two — and his seat at the House.
He said an acting secretary general could be appointed as soon as today, according to Inilah.com.
Siti Nurbaya, Indonesia’s newly appointed minister for the environment and forestry, said she would leave her role as head of regional autonomy at NasDem.
“I want to focus on working for the people,” she said.