Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok. (GA Photo/Mohammad Defriza)l

Ahok Offered Post as SOE Boss

NOVEMBER 13, 2019

Jakarta. Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was invited by State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir to his office on Wednesday to receive an offer to manage a state company.

"I don't know which company, you'd better ask the minister. It was only put to me if I would like to get involved in a state-owned enterprise," Ahok said when asked by reporters shortly after his meeting with Erick.

"When the country calls for my service, I am ready," he said.

Ahok, who served a two-year jail sentence for blasphemy against Islam, which lost him his governorship, said he will make a decision in December.

The former governor is slowly returning to public life after enduring his annus horribilis in 2017, when he lost the Jakarta gubernatorial election to Anies Baswedan, was convicted of blasphemy amid pressures from Muslim hardliners and divorced his wife while in prison.

Since his release in January, Ahok has kept a low profile although he sometimes attended public events.

Darmadi Durianto, a member of the House of Representatives' Commission VI overseeing state-owned enterprises (SOEs), said he had no objection to Ahok's possible involvement in an SOE.

"There is no law that bans the minister from asking anybody, including Ahok, to become an SOE boss. The key requirements for an SOE director are capacity and capability," the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician said.

But he suggested that Ahok, who was famous for his no-nonsense approach to bureaucracy while he was the Jakarta governor, should not be assigned to a well-oiled SOE.

"Don't put him in a stable SOE. Ahok should go to an ailing SOE, such as [electricity company] PLN, [insurer] Jiwasraya, [plantation firm] PTPN III or Bulog [the State Logistics Agency]. They'll be a better fit for Ahok in my opinion," Darmadi said.

"SOEs where graft is rampant need Ahok, his integrity and his strong character. I would even prefer it if Ahok got a deputy minister post so he could turn around ailing SOEs."