Indonesian VP confirms cabinet reshuffle plan

Indonesian VP confirms cabinet reshuffle plan
Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla

Vice President Jusuf Kalla says that a Cabinet reshuffle is inevitable as President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has started to evaluate the performances of his ministers.

Kalla said, however, that the shake-up might not result in the removal of underperforming ministers.

"It depends; [a minister] with a bad [performance] will not automatically [be removed]. Because there are considerations; [for example] maybe they are [considered] still new and did not understand [their tasks] in the first six months [in office], while now they have a better understanding," he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Kalla, however, did not say when the President would conduct the reshuffle.

A recent survey by pollster the Pol-Tracking Institute said that about 48.5 per cent of 1,200 respondents were dissatisfied with the government's performance, the remaining 7.5 per cent did not answer or were undecided. Only 44 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with the government.

The survey - held in 33 of the country's 34 provinces - also found that the government performed worst in the economic sector, with only 28.7 per cent satisfied with the government's achievements in the past six months.

Among the five sectors assessed in the survey - the economy, justice and corruption eradication, security, education and health - only the last two received a public satisfaction rating of above 50 per cent, with health scoring 52.7 per cent and education scoring 51.4 per cent.

Kalla declined that the shake-up plan was due to the declining popularity of the administration under President Jokowi.

He said that a good government should be run by the conviction of making changes that benefitted the public, instead of merely seeking popularity.

"If the government works only based on popularity, no changes can be made," he said.

"What is essential for me is not those polling [surveys], but about [whether the policies bring] benefits [ to the people]."

He later said that it was the prerogative of the President to assess his ministers and to decide whether or not to remove them.

The popularity of Jokowi-Kalla has slumped in the first six months of their administration due to various policies, mostly because of their unpopular decision to lift fuel subsidies and failure to maintain the value of the rupiah amid global pressure.

Jokowi has also become extremely unpopular for nominating Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan, who had been named a graft suspect, as National Police chief.

Although Jokowi later dropped his nomination, his decision triggered conflict between the police and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which had named Budi a suspect in a bribery case.

Jokowi's decision to drop Budi, the former adjutant of former president and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chief Megawati Soekarnoputri, has also opened a rift with the party that had supported Jokowi's presidential bid.

PDI-P deputy secretary-general Ahmad Basarah said a Cabinet reshuffle was inevitable because the public was dissatisfied with the performance of the government.

"One factor that has contributed to President [Joko] "Jokowi" [Widodo]'s performance is the Cabinet's unsatisfactory performance," he said as quoted by kompas.com.

Ahmad said that inadequate communications between the President and his supporting political parties had also contributed to the government's poor performance.

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