Former Jakarta governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama, center, at President Joko Widodo's inauguration last month. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Ahok to Become Next Pertamina Chief Commissioner: SOE Minister


NOVEMBER 22, 2019

Jakarta. Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama will soon be appointed as the new chief commissioner of state-run oil company Pertamina, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir confirmed on Friday.

Erick made the announcement shortly after he met President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.

"The president already made his decision. Mr. Basuki will serve as the chief commissioner of Pertamina," Erick told reporters.

According to Erick, SOE deputy minister Budi Sadikin will get a new role as Ahok’s deputy, while former state telecommunication company Telkomsel president Emma Sri Martini will be appointed as Pertamina’s new finance director.

The minister said members of boards of directors and commissioners at SOEs still should not be affiliated to any political party.

"Why do we need Mr. Basuki in Pertamina and a deputy minister to accompany him? The main [reason] is to help Pertamina reduce our oil and gas import. We are not against importing, we just have to import less. Also, developing new refineries will be a daunting task ahead, so we need a great team for Pertamina, we can't rely on the chief commissioner alone," Erick said.

"We need a reform-minded figure to lead Pertamina and reach these targets," he said. 

Erick said he understood that some people, including Pertamina's own labor union leader, are still opposed to Ahok's appointment.

"There are pros and cons, and not just about Mr. Basuki. But give us a chance to do our job and wait for the results," the minister said.