Jokowi’s Ministers: from Regional Heads to sons and daughter of Party Chairmen

(photo: IO/Yoga)

IO, Jakarta – A number of young politicians have been highlighted soon after President Elect Joko Widodo announced that the Second Working Indonesia Cabinet will comprise 45% political party candidates and 55% professionals, and that a number of young politicians will be included in the ministerial lineup. For example, political party names such as Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (41 y.o.), Angela Tanoesoedibjo (32 y.o.), and Prananda Paloh (30 y.o.) were revealed, along with entrepreneurial big shots such as BukaLapak’s CEO Ahmad Zaky (32 y.o.), Gojek CEO Nadiem Makarim (35 y.o.), and Vice Governor of East Java Emil Dardak (35 y.o.).

As explicitly stated in Article 17 of the Constitution of 1945, the President is granted the prerogative or right to appoint and terminate ministers. “Because ministers are directly responsible to the president, it is only natural that the President would select people with the best competence. Therefore, we can hope for the establishment for a kabinet zaken, or a cabinet whose members are professionals with the capacity and capability for handing the primary duties and functions of the ministries or agencies that they lead,” said Functional Party (Golongan Karya – “Golkar”) politician Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet) in the public discussion “Opportunities for Substantial Democracy in Jokowi’s Second Cabinet Composition” held in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Thursday (22/08/2019).

Bamsoet stated that there need be no dichotomy between political party and non-political party candidates. After all, many professionals who are experts in various fields can be found in political parties as well. “We are often trapped in a paradigm where a reliable Cabinet is marked with a small number of ministers affiliated with political parties. This way of thinking must be corrected, as denying the existence and importance of political parties is the same as denying the importance and existence of democracy,” he said.

National Democrat (Nasdem) Party General Chairman Surya Paloh confirms that he would not give the blessing for his son Prananda Paloh to become one of Jokowi’s ministers. He believes that Prananda is still too young. “Let him get some experience first. This is my view; I would rather that he focuses on his career at the House. But if Nanda wants to do it, let him then,” he said in University of Indonesia (UI) Campus in Salemba, Central Jakarta, recently.

Functional Group (Golongan Karya – “Golkar”) Party’s Central Leadership Council (Dewan Pimpinan Pusat – “DPP”) Vice General Secretary Maman Abdurrahman agrees that the young should be given the opportunity to serve in Jokowi’s new Cabinet. Maman stated that global challenges will become even more dynamic in the future, as changes will occur quickly and dramatically. Therefore, young people who dare to take risks are needed. “However, other than having the necessary daring to innovate, they must still be able to pace themselves,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Development Party (Partai Persatuan Pembangunan – “PPP”) General Secretary Arsul Sani has a different view on young ministers. He believes that Jokowi wishes to regenerate national leadership. “Therefore, as long as he nominates mature and capable young people with integrity, I think we should simply welcome them,” he said.

As for who the young politicians Jokowi will nominate as his ministers, Arsul stated that he does not know their names yet. However, he guesses that they would be young major startup entrepreneurs. Despite everything, he expressed a timid hope that the new composition of ministers would not reduce the number of seats reserved for his party. He candidly admitted that he hopes that PPP will have more ministerial seats in the next term than in the current term. 

Separately, the Chairman of the National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa – “PKB”)’s DPP Abdul Kadir Karding stated that he expect the ministers in President’s new cabinet to be visionary and hardworking. Karding even stated that candidate ministers for Jokowi’s Second Cabinet should be even “crazier” than their president. “It’s not proper if the President works hard while the ministers relax,” he stated at the DPR RI Building in Senayan, Jakarta. He further states that such an attitude matches Jokowi, who is a statesman who works harder and faster. In that way, they would be able to bring Jokowi’s vision and mission to fruition.

Head of Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan In­donesia – “LIPI”)’s Political Research Center, Firman Noor stated that there are many elements to consider when electing ministers. First, the Cabinet needs to accelerate the running of Jokowi’s pro­grams that he has planned long before he becomes president. Some of these programs or ideas are yet to be realized. “I think that Jokowi cannot abandon or neglect them just like that in this case, even though this is his final Cabinet. On the other hand, he has the freedom to organize his Cabinet by himself, as he is not bound by political interests in the next term,” he said.

Second, Firman also believes that the President should compose a cabinet that would be able to improve current economic conditions. After all, there has been no significant improvement in the economic condition. Therefore, a lot of people also wonder if the Cabinet would be able to accelerate programs for bettering the economy. “I heard that a lot of the old lot will be kept. The question is, is it wise to continue using the old gang in the new Cabinet while the old one has yet to show good economic performance?” he asked. (Dan)