Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday said that he wanted “innovative” ministers in his Cabinet for his second term, as the cofounder of tech start-up Gojek said he would join and a former chairman of Inter Milan soccer club was tipped for a post.
The makeup of the Cabinet is being closely watched to see how many are technocrats, who are more likely to fall in with Widodo’s reform agenda. Party affiliated candidates are seen more at risk of falling back on traditional loyalties.
There has also been speculation that Widodo’s challenger in April’s bitterly fought presidential election, Prabowo Subianto, or other members of the opposition could join.
Widodo had been expected to announce his lineup yesterday, but this was likely to be delayed until tomorrow, said Mohammad Mahfud MD, a former head of the Indonesian Constitutional Court, who said that he was interviewed for a post at the palace yesterday.
“I want appointed ministers to be figures who are innovative, productive, as well as be hard and fast workers. Figures who are not stuck in monotonous routines,” Widodo wrote on Twitter.
There has been no official announcement, but Mahfud told Kompas TV at the presidential palace: “On Wednesday, we are all invited to be announced to all of you, we were called one by one today.” A swearing in ceremony was scheduled for 9am on Wednesday, he said.
Mahfud, who was at one stage expected to be Widodo’s vice presidential running mate, has been linked in media to the minister of law and human rights post.
All of the candidates said that the president had asked them to join the Cabinet, but they declined to confirm the positions offered.
Nadiem Makarim, 35, the chief executive officer of Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek, was another visitor at the palace.
“I have received a big honor to be able to join the Cabinet of the president,” Makarim told reporters.
He said his specific role would be announced by the president later, but he has been linked to a possible post in a new digital economy ministry or in education.
Gojek said the company’s president Andre Soelistyo and its cofounder Kevin Aluwi would take over the leadership of the US$10 billion unicorn.
Widodo’s election campaign manager Erick Thohir, 49, the chairman of media business Mahaka Media, was also at the palace.
Shares of Mahaka Media yesterday soared 20 percent on expectations that Thohir, a former chairman of Italian soccer club Inter Milan, was joining the Cabinet.
Thohir said taht he would resign from his role in his company if appointed to the Cabinet.
Widodo has been besieged by “extremely intense” jockeying for posts as he sought to build a Cabinet of technocrat ministers, a presidential adviser has said, declining to be named.
Bank Negara Indonesia economist Ryan Kiryanto said that he was not concerned about any effect on the markets or economy of a delay in announcing the Cabinet, instead seeing it as “reflecting carefulness” by the president in his selections.
Widodo, 58, has pledged to cut red tape and keep building infrastructure to underpin growth in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, but has also made improving education a top priority to encourage investment and create jobs for a youthful population of 260 million people.
At his swearing in on Sunday, he said: “This will be a big problem if we fail to create enough job opportunities.”
Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartarto was among a string of potential candidates meeting the president at the palace.
He said he had discussed how to narrow Indonesia’s trade deficit, without elaborating on any role.
He has been linked in media to the job of coordinating minister for economic affairs.
Widodo has previously said that respected Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati would retain a position in the Cabinet, but gave no further details.
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of