Indonesia to unveil new Cabinet on Sunday

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre) with Vice-President Jusuf Kalla (left) and Anies Baswedan (right), a senior member of Mr Widodo's presidential campaign team. -- PHOTO: AFP
Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre) with Vice-President Jusuf Kalla (left) and Anies Baswedan (right), a senior member of Mr Widodo's presidential campaign team. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - New President Joko Widodo is set to finally announce the much-awaited Cabinet lineup on Sunday and will officially inaugurate the 34 ministers on Monday.

Andi Widjajanto, a former deputy of Mr Joko's transition team now assisting the President in setting up his Cabinet, said the President would announce his Cabinet lineup on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, is expected to have tea with the 34 ministerial candidates at a garden in the palace complex on Sunday, the first of such a gathering.

"There will be a short briefing about Monday's inauguration ceremony and (Jokowi will) ask the ministers to immediately prepare to work," Andi said on Saturday at the State Palace.

"The President will immediately hold a Cabinet meeting on Monday at noon after the inauguration ceremony."

Andi said there would be no more changes to the list of ministerial candidates, especially since Mr Joko had already been briefed by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) regarding its assessments of the candidates' track records.

As the list appears to be final, activists have also stepped up their last ditch efforts to stop Mr Joko from appointing problematic candidates. Rights activists have called on the new President not to appoint any figures with poor human rights records as ministers.

Among the names of individuals circulating, including on the list of Cabinet ministers, are former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. (ret.) Wiranto, who chairs the Hanura Party; former Army chief of staff Gen. (ret.) Ryamizard Ryacudu, who has close ties to Megawati Soekarnoputri, chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P); and former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy chief As'ad Said Ali.

Speculation was rife that both Wiranto and Ryamizard were vying for the position of coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister while As'ad could be eyeing BIN's top post.

Choirul Anam, the deputy executive director of the Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), highlighted Wiranto's role in the gross human rights violations in East Timor (now Timor Leste) in 1999. Wiranto allegedly facilitated army soldiers and Jakarta-backed militias to commit severe human rights abuses during Indonesia's withdrawal from East Timor. Hundreds of civilians were reportedly killed and thousands of others were displaced.

"Indonesia is liable for the 1999 East Timor human rights violations," Anam said, citing the fact that the UN had gathered evidence on Wiranto's role and recommended a hybrid court or international tribunal try him for the case.

Human rights NGO Imparsial sent a letter to Mr Joko on Friday warning him against appointing figures involved in past human rights abuses.

"It's important to ensure that Jokowi's ministers and other high-ranking officials are not figures who have questionable track records, not only in terms of corruption, but also human rights," Imparsial executive director Poengky Indarti said.

Hanura politician Saleh Husin, who has also been touted as a ministerial candidate and was interviewed by Mr Joko on Saturday, declined to confirm whether Wiranto would take the job as the new coordinating minister, but said "we all know of his skills and experiences".

Saleh also claimed that Wiranto had also been summoned by the president for an interview.

It has also been decided that the new Cabinet will not have a political appointee representing the Gerindra Party, the political party of defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

"I believe no (Gerindra member has been given a ministerial seat). I reckon that there have not been talks to include members of parties outside the Great Indonesia Coalition, aside from the PPP [United Development Party]," Andi said.

Probable candidates for Cabinet posts

Coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister: Wiranto

Coordinating maritime affairs minister: Agus Suhartono

Coordinating economic minister: Sofyan Djalil

Administrative reforms minister, home minister or environment and forestry minister: Siti Nurbaya Bakar

Religious affairs minister or culture and elementary and secondary education minister: Komaruddin Hidayat

Home minister: Tjahjo Kumolo

Administrative reforms minister: Yasonna Laoly

State secretary: Pratikno or Pramono Anung

Youth and sports minister: Yuddy Chrisnandi

Defence minister or coordinating political, legal and security affairs: Ryamizard Ryacudu

Industry minister: Rahmat Gobel

Tourism minister or maritime affairs and fisheries minister: Susi Pudjiastuti

Cabinet secretary or culture and elementary and secondary education minister: Anies Baswedan

Cabinet chief of staff: Luhut Panjaitan

Agrarian and spatial planning minister: Ferry Mursyidan Baldan

Finance minister: Bambang Brodjonegoro

Transportation minister: Ignasius Jonan

Foreign minister: Retno LP Marsudi

Energy and mineral resources minister: Hendi Priyo Santoso or Kuntoro Mangkusubroto

National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) head: Andrinof Chaniago