Indonesia's new Cabinet: Several new ministers have made a mark in their fields

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto (left) is a doctor well known for an unorthodox treatment for stroke patients. As State-owned Enterprises Minister, media and sports tycoon Erick Thohir will lead state-owned firms overseas.
Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto (left) is a doctor well known for an unorthodox treatment for stroke patients. As State-owned Enterprises Minister, media and sports tycoon Erick Thohir will lead state-owned firms overseas.
Media pundit Wishnutama Kusubandio (left) will take on the role of Tourism and Creative Economy Minister. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has a long track record in public service.
Media pundit Wishnutama Kusubandio (left) will take on the role of Tourism and Creative Economy Minister. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has a long track record in public service.

President Joko Widodo's new "Onward Indonesia Cabinet" includes a number of people who have left a mark in their individual fields.

Dr Terawan Agus Putranto, who served as a doctor to former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is well known for an unorthodox and controversial treatment for stroke patients dubbed the "brain wash" therapy.

The 55-year-old radiologist, who was in general practice and headed an army hospital, has treated thousands of patients, including fellow newly appointed ministers Mahfud MD and Prabowo Subianto.

His method, technically known as intra-arterial heparin flushing, is not widely used outside of Indonesia.

As Health Minister, Dr Terawan, a former chairman of the Asean Association of Radiology, will be tackling many pressing issues, including the huge budget deficit in the country's universal healthcare system and the high rate of stunted growth in children, mostly due to malnutrition.

Then there is Mr Nadiem Makarim, the co-founder of In-donesia's ride-hailing service Gojek, who was inspired to set up his billion-dollar business after riding daily on motorbike taxis, dubbed "ojek", through heavily congested Jakarta streets.

The 35-year-old Harvard graduate, who has been appointed Ed-ucation and Culture Minister, will be responsible for "significant breakthroughs" in the development of talent who will be "ready to work and run business", Mr Joko said when he announced Mr Nadiem's new role.

Mr Nadiem has relinquished all his corporate responsibilities.

Also in the new Cabinet are media and sports tycoon Erick Thohir, media pundit Wishnutama Kusubandio and former Constitutional Court judge Mahfud MD.

Mr Erick's company, Mahaka Group, owns various media outlets, from Republika daily, a popular reference for conservative Muslims, to radio station GenFM to television station JakTV.

 
 
 
 

Mr Erick, 49, was named as the head of the President's re-election campaign team last year after he successfully led the organising committee of the 2018 Asian Games, which Indonesia hosted.

Under his new role as State-owned Enterprises Minister, he will be tasked to "lead the overseas expansion of Indonesian state-owned companies", Mr Joko said. Indonesia currently has 115 state-owned companies.

As Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, Mr Wishnutama, 49, another media executive, has been given the task of developing 10 new tourism destinations as well as promoting the country's creative industry in a wide range of sectors, ranging from music to fashion.

Unlike the other four newcomers, Dr Mahfud, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, has the longest track record in politics and public service.

The 62-year-old politician held two ministerial posts - defence minister and justice minister - from 2000 to 2001.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'Several new ministers have made a mark in their fields'. Print Edition | Subscribe