Jokowi's Cabinet lacks wow factor

Jokowi's Cabinet lacks wow factor
Indonesia's newly-elected President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

JAKARTA - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced on Sunday his much-anticipated Cabinet lineup, which promptly received a mixed review from analysts and politicians.

President Jokowi said his Cabinet, which he dubbed the "Kabinet Kerja" or "Working Cabinet", was the best that he could come up with after a meticulous process.

"I selected the ministers carefully and meticulously because this Cabinet will be working for [the next] five years. We wanted to get clean figures, therefore, we consulted with the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] and the PPATK [Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre] to get accurate [background information]," Jokowi said in his speech before making the announcement.

Jokowi also said that he selected the ministers based on their capabilities, as well as their leadership and managerial skills.

While announcing the lineup, Jokowi took turns to introduce the 34 figures in his Cabinet in a modest press conference held at the lawn of the Merdeka Palace.

Jokowi cracked a few jokes as he introduced the ministers, bringing a relaxed atmosphere to what might otherwise have been a politically charged event.

"He wrote many books on the failures of our development programs, so I asked him to join [the Cabinet] so in the future our development programme won't fail," Jokowi said while introducing the new National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) Head Andrinof Chaniago, a University of Indonesia political science lecturer.

When introducing the new Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan, who currently serves as PT Kereta Api Indonesia president, Jokowi told him to sprint to the stage. "Run, Pak Jonan [...] run," said Jokowi.

Jokowi, however, dissuaded the new Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti from running to the stage when her name was called. "Please, no need to run Bu [ma'am]," he said, with a chuckle.

The appointment of some individuals as ministers in Jokowi's Cabinet, however, has also raised eyebrows.

Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu is regarded as having a poor human-rights record, while others such as Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani and Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya have been deemed as being unqualified for their new jobs.

Ryamizard, who served as Army chief of staff between 2002 and 2004, is known for his controversial statements. He is also alleged to have had roles in a number of human-rights violation cases.

Ryamizard, who recently recovered from a mild stroke, has denied the allegations. "Just ask them why now [are critics making such allegations]?" he told reporters.

Puan Maharani, a top executive at the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the daughter of the party's chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri, said she deserved her ministerial position.

"Please don't bring up my background as her [Megawati's] daughter here. What I have done all this time has proven [my] performance," she said. "[People] should see the capacity and quality of a person."

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