Indonesia replaces energy and mineral resources minister after US citizenship flap

Sacked Indonesia Energy and Mining Minister Archandra Tahar poses with other cabinet members in July 2016.
Sacked Indonesia Energy and Mining Minister Archandra Tahar poses with other cabinet members in July 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has appointed maritime affairs coordinating minister Luhut Pandjaitan to assume a double role as Indonesia's new energy and mineral resources minister, replacing Mr Arcandra Tahar, who served in the post for just a few weeks.

The abrupt replacement came after revelations that Mr Arcandra had become a naturalised US citizen four years ago.

Mr Arcandra lived in the US for 20 years before he was asked by Mr Joko to join his Cabinet in late July, when Mr Joko replaced several of his ministers he said had been undeperforming and insubordinate.

The President has appointed Mr Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs, as the acting energy and mineral resources minister, until a definitive minister is appointed, State Secretary Pratikno told reporters on Monday (Aug 15) night.

Indonesia does not adopt dual citizenship. Any Indonesian pledging allegiance to a foreign country automatically loses his Indonesian citizenship.

Indonesia's law on Ministers stipulate that Cabinet ministers must hold Indonesian citizenship.