Indonesian President Jokowi announces new Cabinet

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice-President Ma'ruf Amin (front row, sixth and seventh from left) with members of their new Cabinet on the steps of the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Oct 23, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - Amid global economic uncertainty and expectations from Indonesians of better growth prospects and higher levels of governance, President Joko Widodo on Wednesday (Oct 23) announced his new Cabinet, having recruited politicians from across the aisle as well as professionals including the co-founder of ride-hailing firm Gojek.

"This is called Onward Indonesia Cabinet. Going forward, we will focus on human development, job creation and boosting opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises," Mr Joko said just days after his inauguration for a second and final five-year term in office.

In his speech, Mr Joko also sounded a warning to his new ministers: "First, do not get involved in corruption. Instead, create a system that prevents any opportunity for corruption."

"Work fast, hard and productively. Do not get trapped by a monotonous routine," he said, reminding his 34-member Cabinet that an underperforming member can be replaced at any time during his five years in office.

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Mr Joko retained seasoned hands Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who had served in his previous Cabinet and was also finance minister when Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was president, and Luhut Pandjaitan, a former military officer.

"With the current global weakness, the President has ordered we make a smoother process for the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to come in. Quickly resolve any obstacle holding up the investments," Mr Luhut told reporters.

More than a third of the ministers are old faces from Mr Joko's previous government, with politicians accounting for about 40 per cent of his Cabinet.

Dr Sri Mulyani, who analysts have credited with stabilising government finances, will retain her old post as Finance Minister while Mr Luhut, Mr Joko's closest aide, will continue as Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, but with the added responsibility of overseeing investments in the country.

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Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia in the next five years will strengthen its economic diplomacy after doing a lot on other fronts in the past five years, including protecting its citizens overseas, its borders and contributing to the regional and international relations.

"In the next five years, it can be assured our economic diplomacy would be strengthened. The President talked about the need for Indonesia to focus on trade and investments. There are sectors that must be dealt with domestically, there are other sectors that our diplomats must pursue."

Mr Nadiem Makarim, Gojek co-founder, was appointed Education and Cultural Affairs Minister.

Mr Nadiem told reporters after his inauguration that what is required in the workplace of the future would be very different and constantly changing, adding that technology would help improve education in Indonesia.

"With 300,000 schools and 50 million students, like it or not, technology would play a very important role in the quality, efficiency and administration of the education system in Indonesia that is the fourth-largest in the world," said Mr Nadiem, who at 35 is the youngest and only minister in Mr Joko's Cabinet to represent millennials.

"Economy is our biggest challenge going forward," said Mr Sofjan Wanandi, who served as chief of advisers under former vice-president Jusuf Kalla. "People with strong abilities have been appointed in key positions dealing with the economy," he added.

Controversial appointment Prabowo Subianto, who is the new defence minister, told reporters: "I will learn first the latest situation (in the ministry), then we will start work."

The former army general and chairman of opposition party Gerindra party, had challenged Mr Joko in the 2014 and 2019 presidential elections.

His inclusion, as well as that of other political appointees, showed compromise and the reality of political patronage, analysts said. While many Indonesians were disappointed, some believed it was a gesture of unity.

As for Mr Joko recruiting non-partisan professionals and members from parties other than his own Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Mr Sofjan told The Straits Times this is not a problem.

"They have in the past proven they can work," he added.

Under Indonesia's presidential system, Mr Joko as the chief executive has the prerogative to appoint and replace Cabinet ministers.

Although the President has significant authority and powers as head of state and government, he can be hobbled by an active Parliament.

Analysts say he has to balance political stability with competency in selecting candidates proposed by the political parties that had backed him.

However, Mr Joko avoided filling certain strategic posts with candidates affiliated with any political party.

He interviewed about 10 ministerial candidates on Monday and more than 20 others on Tuesday at the presidential palace.

As they left, some candidates told reporters they had been offered positions.

Professor Mahfud MD, who served as defence minister under former president Abdurrahman Wahid and was constitutional court Chief Justice from 2008-2013, has been appointed as the coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister, replacing retired general Wiranto.

When asked about two death row terrorist inmates behind the 2004 Australian embassy bombing - Iwan Dharmawan Muntho alias Rois, 43, and Ahmad Hasan, 48 - who have not been executed 14 years after their conviction in 2005, Prof Mahfud said he would have a thorough look into the issue.

"I have to look at this comprehensively first. I have to speak to the attorney-general, the Supreme Court and the law and human rights minister. But I have taken note on this case," he said.

Former chief of Indonesian police Tito Karnavian was appointed Domestic Affairs Minister.

Full list of Indonesia's new Cabinet

Coordinating Ministers

Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs - Mahfud MD

Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs - Airlangga Hartarto

Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment - Luhut Pandjaitan

Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture - Muhadjir Effendy


Ministry of State Secretariat - Pratikno

Ministry of Home Affairs - Tito Karnavian

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Retno Marsudi

Ministry of Defence - Prabowo Subianto

Ministry of Law and Human Rights - Yasonna Laoly

Ministry of Finance - Sri Mulyani Indrawati

Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources - Arifin Tasrif

Ministry of Industry - Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita

Ministry of Trade - Agus Suparmanto

Ministry of Agriculture - Syahrul Yasin Limpo

Ministry of Environment and Forestry - Siti Nurbaya Bakar

Ministry of Transportation - Budi Karya Sumadi

Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries - Edhy Prabowo

Ministry of Manpower - Ida Fauziyah

Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration - Abdul Halim Iskandar

Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing - Basuki Hadimuljono

Ministry of Health - Terawan Agus Putranto

Ministry of Education and Culture - Nadiem Makarim

Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education - Bambang Brodjonegoro

Ministry of Social Affairs - Juliari Batubara

Ministry of Religious Affairs - Fachrul Razi

Ministry of Tourism and Culture - Wishnutama Kusubandio

Ministry of Communication and Informatics - Johnny G. Plate

Ministry of Cooperatives and Small & Medium Enterprises - Teten Masduki

Ministry of Female Empowerment and Child Protection - I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati

Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform - Tjahjo Kumolo

Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency - Suharso Monoarfa

Ministry of Land and Spatial Planning/National Land Agency - Sofyan Djalil

Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises - Erick Thohir

Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs - Zainudin Amali

Cabinet-level Officials

Attorney General's Office - ST Burhanuddin

Secretariat of the Cabinet - Pramono Anung

Investment Coordinating Board - Bahlil Dahadalia

Presidential Staff Office - Moeldoko

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