Luhut Panjaitan: “Opposition can offer constructive criticism”

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Luhut Binsar Panjaitan. (photo: IO/Yoga)

IO, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has again invited several media outlets to a coffee morning event held in his office in Jalan M.H. Thamrin No. 8, Jakarta, on Tuesday (2/7/2019). Various topics were discussed in the event, starting from Luhut’s statement on opposition to the next administration, Jokowi’s ministers, the problem of Garuda Indonesia to the G20 summit.

Speaking on the disbanding of the Just and Prosperous Coalition (Koalisi Adil Makmur), where some parties are looking to join the next administration while some others have chosen to remain in opposition, Luhut believes that opposition to a government is important. However, he hopes that the opposition can bring up constructive criticism rather than spread hoaxes. “Constructive opposition is good. Not the hoax (spreading) type,” said Luhut.

Luhut did not want to comment on the various previously oppositional parties wishing to join Jokowi’s cabinet who were rejected by several Jokowi supporting parties. “Just ask the president. Ask them (PAN and Democrats),” added Luhut. Both the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party (Demokrat) are two former Just and Prosperous Coalition parties which are ready to join the future administration.

When asked on the names of prospective ministers in the upcoming Jokowi administration, Luhut admitted he did not yet know the names President Joko Widodo and would be Vice-President Ma’ruf Amin would pick for their cabinet. “Just ask the President,” Luhut answered laughing.

According to Luhut, picking ministers, including himself, is the President’s prerogative. Luhut stated that the names of prospective ministers being spread around could not be confirmed. Luhut himself is rumored to be a prospective minister for the Coordinating Ministry of Politics, Law, Human Rights. “I have been a minister three times. Usually a day before the inauguration the president calls. The next day the inauguration is done. So, I do not know,” he said.

Even so, Luhut stated that he would be ready if chosen by Jokowi to become a minister in the second volume of the working cabinet. Luhut already has a plan on how to further develop Indonesia. “If I’m asked what I want as a minister, well, a lot. However, I would only explain that to the President later,” said Luhut.

During the coffee morning event, Luhut also touched on the case of PT Garuda Indonesia’s 2018 financial report. According to him, it is impossible to manipulate data in the current day as everything is monitored. “So, I trust everything. Nowadays many people are, sorry for this, those seniors who believe that nowadays their ministers can be tricked. You can’t as everything is monitored well. That makes the government much more transparent,” he said.

Luhut also stated that the case of the financial report on the state-owned enterprise was part of another problem in Garuda Indonesia such as the problem of high flight prices which has been deemed irregular, alongside the efficiency of aviation fuel. “So, again, this problem in Garuda has been there for a long time,” said Luhut.

At the end of the event, Luhut talked about his experience accompanying President Joko Widodo to the G20 summit in Japan recently. According to him, the meeting had a positive impact on Indonesia.

“The G20 was very successful. President Joko Widodo was very much liked by the leaders who attended. That could be seen from the photos and videos circulating. That was also reflected in the bilateral meeting, which also had a positive impact and took place very warmly and friendly. Previously there was a request for 17 nations, but because there were domestic matters which were also important, the bilateral meeting was cut,” Luhut concluded. (Dan)