Jokowi gets anti-graft agencies to screen potential ministers list

Jokowi gets anti-graft agencies to screen potential ministers list
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and First Lady Ariana.

On his last day before leaving office, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday welcomed his successor, Mr Joko Widodo, to the presidential palace, showing him around and introducing him to palace staff.

The two leaders took about an hour to tour the Istana complex, with Dr Yudhoyono showing Mr Joko a Cabinet meeting room, the jogging area and a corner where the seventh President of Indonesia can put up his photos.

Mr Joko will be sworn in today and is expected to name his Cabinet as early as tomorrow.

He has submitted names of ministerial candidates to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and Anti-Money Laundering Agency (PPATK) for screening, according to his aides.

Several foreign leaders will be attending the inauguration ceremony today, including Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Premier Najib Razak.

Mr Joko's move to submit names of potential ministers to KPK and PPATK for screening has been applauded by the public, and he is the first President-elect to do so, according to KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto.

Indonesia's fate over the next five years will rest on KPK, said Mr Benny Susetyo, former secretary to the Indonesian Bishops' Council.

He appealed to the agency to announce to the public any name that it finds "problematic", rather than disclose the information only to the President.

An official in Mr Joko's camp told The Straits Times: "Jokowi has had pressure from party bigwigs to include certain figures, and it wouldn't be easy to say no, even if some figures have had legal problems.

"Using the anti-corruption agency and the anti-money laundering agency to filter out these names is a clever way."

Mr Joko said on Saturday that he would use the Istana as his official residence, following in the footsteps of Dr Yudhoyono and previous leaders Sukarno and Abdurrahman Wahid.

Other presidents used the complex as their office.

Mr Joko said he has chosen to live there because, being from Solo, he does not have a house in Jakarta. While he was Jakarta governor, he lived at the official residence for the governor.

The incoming President will face a stiff challenge in Parliament in the days ahead as the opposition coalition led by Mr Prabowo Subianto currently controls 63 per cent of the 560 parliamentary seats.

"Jokowi must take the lead in efforts to gather greater support in Parliament to turn around the political landscape," said analyst Burhanuddin Muhtadi at a forum yesterday.

This article was first published on Oct 20, 2014.
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