Tue, Oct 22, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Jokowi aims for ‘innovative’ Cabinet

INDONESIAN SHAKE-UP:The full Cabinet is expected to be announced tomorrow, with Gojek CEO Nadiem Makarim and Mahaka Media chair Erick Thohir tapped as ministers

Reuters, JAKARTA

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.”

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