Johnny G. Plate, the new communication and information technology minister, wants to restore the ministry's role as the government's main spokesperson. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Indonesia's New Information Czar Names His Priorities


DECEMBER 10, 2019

Jakarta. Johnny G. Plate, the new communication and information technology minister, says data privacy, talent and infrastructure development, and reviving his ministry's old role as the government's main spokesperson, would be his main priorities in the next five years. 

Before taking up his post, Johnny was a businessman who made his money in the oil and gas sector and a veteran politician who served a term at the House of Representatives.

He was also the secretary-general of the National Democratic Party (Nasdem), a political party founded by media mogul Surya Paloh. 

His appointment as minister was seen by many as part of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's move to secure political support from the House.

Johnny said the first thing on the agenda for him would be to push for the ratification of the personal data protection bill and the broadcasting bill.

The former was a proposal from the government and is on its way to be included in next year's national legislation program (Prolegnas). The broadcasting bill was a proposal from the House. 

Johnny said his ministry would also be involved in drafting three key omnibus bills that Jokowi has proposed for job creation, small and medium enterprises and tax.

"All three are related to each other and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology will have a key role to play in their drafting," he said.

The minister said he would also like to revive the ministry's old role as the main spokesperson for the government. 

"Whenever the press can't get the information they need from ministers or government institutions, just come to my ministry," he said.

The ministry would also continue ongoing development on telecommunication infrastructure, which includes fiber-optic network, base stations and satellite transmissions.

Johnny said he wanted even the most remote regions in the country to have high-speed internet by the end of his term. 

"By 2024, internet speed in Indonesia should reach 10 megabytes per second. When all our satellites are in working order – we expect this to happen in around 2025 – it should go up to 30 Mbps," he said.

Johnny said the country's 5G frequency slots would also be rearranged to get the country ready for Industry 4.0.

All the frequency spectrums will be rearranged: lower band (700 MHz and 800 MHz), middle band (2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz) and upper band (26 GHz).

"Aside from having the right regulations, infrastructure and frequency arrangement, we will also need to develop more digital and telecommunication talents," he said.

According to the minister, Indonesia needs to blood 600,000 new talents for the digital industry every year. He acknowledged the enormity of the challenge.  

"But we've already carried out several training programs and we now offer the digital talent scholarship. In 2019, we provided 25,000 digital talent scholarships and next year we will offer 50,000 or even 60,000," Johnny said.

The minister said the government's digital partners should pitch in by training new talents.

"Google, Facebook, Bukalapak, Tokopedia and Gojek should lend their hand to train our digital talents," Johnny said.