Ruangguru co-founder Adamas Belva Syah Devara is introduced by President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo as one of his 'seven millennial aides' at the State Palace in Jakarta in November. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Jokowi's Millennial Advisor Resigns Over Pre-Employment Card Scandal


APRIL 22, 2020

Jakarta. One of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's much-hyped millennial advisors has resigned over allegations of conflict of interests after his online education app became one of the training partners for the government's pre-employment card program. 

Adamas Belva Syah Devara, the co-founder and director of Ruangguru, penned an open letter on his Instagram on Tuesday, explaining he had met Jokowi to inform him of his decision to resign on Friday after earlier submitting a resignation letter.


Belva said the selection process for the unemployment benefits program's partners was done according to regulation. 

He insisted there was no "conflict of interests" during the selection process.

"As has been explained by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, the verification process for all pre-employment card partners was done according to existing rules. There was nothing in the process that suggested a conflict of interests," Belva wrote in the letter.

However, Belva said he finally chose to step down from his position as advisor to the president because he did not want the controversy to disrupt the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I made this difficult decision because I don't want the polemic over my role as special staff to the President to last any longer than it already has. I don't want any disruptions in the government's handling of the pandemic," Belva said.

In his Instagram letter, Belva also thanked Jokowi for the experience and knowledge he had gained working as his advisor and said the president had accepted his resignation.

In the past few days, Indonesian social media had gone into a frenzy after it was revealed Belva's Ruangguru was selected as one of the partners for the pre-employment card program.

Ruangguru's Skill Academy platform provides online training in several subjects including design, marketing and self-development.

"The training should be free. You shouldn't have to pay since there's a lot of similar materials available online," Anggawira, the deputy chairman of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (BPP Himpi) said.

The government had set aside Rp 5.6 trillion ($358.4 million) to provide Rp 1 million rupiah's worth of online courses to each of the 5.6 million Indonesians signed up to the pre-employment card program. 

The online courses are available on digital platforms Ruangguru, Maubelajarapa,, Tokopedia, Bukalapak. Pintaria and Pijar Mahir.

Belva was adamant he was not involved in the selection process for the program partners, claiming it was done independently by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs and the managers of the pre-employment card program.

However, he had also said he was willing to resign from his position as a special advisor to the president to avoid a scandal.

Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung has confirmed Belva's resignation. He said the president understood the reasons for his resignation and appreciated the decision.

"From the beginning, the president had wanted young people with potentials like Belva to join the government so they could contribute with innovative and creative ideas while giving them opportunities to learn about governance," Pramono said.