Ex-TNI chief tipped for key posts

General Moeldoko
General Moeldoko

Retired four-star general Moeldoko, who goes by one name, was the youngest of 12 children in a poor family in Kediri, East Java, and enlisted in the army as he couldn't afford to go to university.

Now 60, he graduated top of his class at Indonesia's military academy in 1981, led combat airborne infantry units, and went on to have an illustrious career in the Indonesian armed forces (TNI).

He served in combat operations in East Timor in 1984 and a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Iraq and Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War, as well as in the Congo, among other hot spots.

He also found time to complete his doctorate in public administration from the University of Indonesia in January 2013, before he was named army chief in May 2013. He served in the role for just three months before being promoted to TNI chief in August that year.

Shortly after retiring from active service in July 2015, he was conferred Singapore's highest military award, the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) or Distinguished Service Order (Military), for his role in forging good ties between the armed forces of both countries as TNI chief.

Under his leadership, the TNI and Singapore Armed Forces participated in various multilateral meetings and operations on top of regular bilateral exchanges.

He was even tipped as a potential running mate for President Joko Widodo in the 2014 election, and later for a Cabinet post.


  • Former appointment: Retired Indonesian armed forces chief

    Appointed as: Presidential Chief of Staff

    Married with two children

During the heated 2014 election when Mr Joko was up against former general Prabowo Subianto, Mr Moeldoko helped ensure the TNI stayed neutral and said the armed forces walked a "narrow corridor" between safeguarding democracy and preserving stability.

Francis Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-TNI chief tipped for key posts'. Print Edition | Subscribe