Observer: “Jokowi need not be reluctant to reshuffle Cabinet”

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Siti Zuhro, Senior Researcher of the Indonesian Institution of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – “LIPI”). (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – Siti Zuhro, Senior Researcher of the Indonesian Institution of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – “LIPI”), interprets President Joko Widodo’s anger towards his ministers in a recent Cabinet Meeting as a strong signal that the President is aware of the people’s dissatisfaction with his helpers in the Indonesia Onward Cabinet. It is highly unusual for a humble, unflappable Jokowi to actually express anger – but he has discovered that his ministers do not work as expected. His anger is understandable, as he notes that his ministers do not possess a sense of crisis amid the difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He even went as far as to say that “I will take any extraordinary measures needed for the sake of our 267 million citizens! I don’t even care if I should lose my political reputation for this. For the sake of the State, I can simply disband institutions, I can simply reshuffle. My mind has gone through many avenues,” Jokowi stated in a video broadcast by the President’s Secretariat on Sunday (28/06/2020). 

Responding to the video of Jokowi angry during a cabinet meeting that went viral , Siti said that Jokowi as a Head of State need not be reluctant to dismantle his Cabinet if he is dissatisfied with his assistants’ performance. After all, it is his second tenure as RI 1. “Jokowi is already aware that the people are dissatisfied with the Government, even to the level of asking what work has the Government been doing. Since it is already his second term, the President need not feel pakewuh (Javanese: reluctance or hesitance due to courtesy),” she said on Sunday (05/07/2020). 

As for the plan to reshuffle ministers, Siti said that Jokowi’s political parties must accept when any minister of their cadre gets dismissed. “Political parties must simply accept if their portion of ministerial positions is reduced. It would be good if the party has a stock of expert cadres in the relevant field,” she said. “They must also submit to have their ministers’ performance in the Cabinet evaluated.” 

Siti criticizes a number of ministerial positions recently brought under the spotlight. “Not just for health and socio-economic issues, we also need to recruit the right person to take care of our education. Let’s not do any more experimentation – we don’t have time for trial and error,” she said. 

General Secretary of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan – “PDIP”) Hasto Kristiyanto stated that the Party is ready to sacrifice itself for President Joko Widodo to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. “PDIP will also act as the President’s shield when facing any groups that provoke citizens, taking advantage amid chaos, and disturbing the peace,” he said in Jakarta last week. 

Siti further stated that the PDIP’s stance of full support of Jokowi’s decisions made in order to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic should be followed by other parties. “PDIP shows a positive attitude – it means that it really supports the President as one of his supporting parties. The Party at least provides competent officials for ministerial positions,” she said. 

The Right Moment 

Meanwhile, Chairman of PDIP’s Central Leadership Council (Dewan Pimpinan Pusat – “DPP”), Hendrawan Supratikno, said that President Jokowi evaluates the performance of his ministers regularly and consistently, especially from March to June 2020. During this period, Indonesia faces the COVID-19 pandemic, which required extra work from the Government to mitigate. “In other words, this is the right momentum to evaluate the ministers’ leadership and performance. It’s only natural to evaluate work, to see whether plans are done accordingly or not. It’s weird not to hold evaluation, really, especially in such extraordinary condition. Such situations require firm, clear, creative, and innovative actions. The President merely wants to direct his assistants’ mindset to do the same,” he said on Friday (03/07/2020). 

President Jokowi’s evaluation is meant to synergize the work of ministers when mitigating COVID-19. Therefore, all political parties that have ministerial representation in the Indonesia Onward Cabinet should submit to having their cadres evaluated. “That’s an automatic and prerogative right of the President. When a person is appointed as a minister, they must be ready to fall under public scrutiny, to be constantly evaluated. They must be ready to be given a red-ink report when they perform poorly, and to be praised when they do well,” Hendrawan said. 

Hendrawan reiterates that PDIP will always support any step and policy taken by President Jokowi in the effort to mitigate the pandemic. PDIP and its cadres, whether those who are in the legislative council or who are regional heads, consistently manage the political stance of supporting the people. “A person who becomes a regional head must support the people. PDIP only reminds its cadres that our work is national work, our politics is for the sake of the people. The DPP issues instructions nearly weekly to motivate cadres to give their best for the people,” he said. . (dan)