Jakarta. The State Palace on Tuesday confirmed Army chief of staff Gen. Budiman will be dismissed from his post within the next two months, but denied the decision was related to the Indonesian presidential election.
“This has nothing to do with the presidential election, because this is part of a regeneration process in the Indonesian military leadership,” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Tuesday. “The president has approved a recommendation from the military chief for [Budiman’s] dismissal and appointed a new chief of staff.”
Julian added that the decision had been taken into consideration ahead of Budiman’s impending retirement.
“The chief of staff replacement had been discussed a while ago, considering Budiman will be retiring in September, 2014,” Julian said, explaining that the replacement was first filed as a recommendation by Indonesian military chief Gen. Moeldoko to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“Of course a recommendation related to [an official’s] replacement or dismissal does not necessarily have to take place when a chief of staff reaches retirement,” he said.
Concerns were raised that the dismissal of Budiman, who was appointed as army chief of staff in Aug. 2013, when his predecessor Moeldoko was appointed military chief, had been related to the presidential election, with some linking the event to SBY’s statements regarding a military official’s involvement in politics.
“[According to] confirmed information, there are entities trying to lure a number of high-ranking officials to support their candidate,” Yudhoyono said in an event in June. “[They] even added that there was no need to listen to the president, because [the administration] was a sinking ship that would soon be over.”
Budiman himself, however, has denied such links.
“I have never [made statements about SBY being a sinking ship]. I am a knight, not a traitor,” he said on Tuesday. “There is no problem.”
Army chief Gen. Moeldoko himself has separately affirmed that the Army will be unaffected by the change.
“[The change] is in the organization’s best interests. Budiman will be retiring soon. It is just a coincidence that this took place close to the announcement of the election results.”