Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, center, attends the inauguration of President Joko Widodo at the national legislature building on Oct. 20. 2019. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Ahok in No Doubt He Will Lead an SOE Sooner Rather Than Later


NOVEMBER 20, 2019

Semarang. Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said on Wednesday he was ready to take on a new role as a state-owned enterprises executive. 

SOE Minister Erick Thohir has hinted at Ahok's possible appointment in one of Indonesia's 143 SOEs with a final decision to be made by early next month at the latest.

"I'm ready. When duty calls, I must be ready," Ahok told reporters in Semarang.

Ahok was in the Central Java capital to brief Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) councilors.

He played down reports of resistance to his appointment from state-run oil company Pertamina's labor union.

"In real life, you can never get 100 percent approval from anybody. Even God has His challengers, let alone us humans," he said.

During his meeting with the PDI-P councilors, Ahok spoke about his political career, which spanned from being a local councilor in the Bangka Belitung province to being elected the East Belitung district head, before rising in quick succession to become a House of Representatives member, Jakarta deputy governor and then governor, replacing his boss Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who became president after winning the 2014 election.

Ahok told the councilors to avoid misappropriating regional budgets, the most common cause for the graft convictions of hundreds of councilors around the country. 

"Don't play around with the budget, and don't even think about taking personal gains from the budget you draft," he said.

He urged the PDI-P politicians to prepare visionary budgets that take the side and interests of the people and help them prosper.

"Don’t be afraid of being sidelined for doing the right thing. You must fight for the people," Ahok said.

Aside from Ahok, Minister Erick has also given hints that former Corruption Eradication Commission deputy chairman Chandra Hamzah and politician Rizal Mallarangeng may soon also be involved in managing an SOE.

"To manage SOE assets worth Rp 8,200 trillion [$581 billion], I need an exceptional team comprising not just smart people, but also those with integrity," Erick said in a statement on Tuesday.