Jakarta. Former president Megawati Soekarnoputri recently defended her chairmanship of the steering committee of the National Research and Innovation Agency, or BRIN, after receiving backlash for taking the role.
Megawati is chairwoman of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), of which President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is a member.
Indonesia is integrating state-owned research institutions, including the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, into one non-ministerial government agency called BRIN. And it is PDI-P’s Megawati who chairs the BRIN steering committee.
At PDI-P’s 49th anniversary, Megawati said that her leading the BRIN steering committee was at Jokowi’s behest, and not at her own will.
“Many wonder why it is me again who becomes the chairperson [of BRIN’s steering committee]. But it was the president who instructed me to do so. I am not doing it at my own will,” Megawati told PDI-P’s 49th anniversary conference on Monday.
Megawati then pointed out BRIN head Laksana Tri Handoko's remarks that she and BJ Habibie — Indonesia’s former president and engineering genius — had paid great attention to the research field.
"BRIN head was asked during an interview why I chair the steering committee. Handoko [replied] that [he] heard it was Habibie and Megawati who had been talking about research. Maybe I am not that good in talking, maybe they [the critics] think I am not as smart,” Megawati said.
In her remarks, Megawati urged BRIN to become the backbone of the nation's progress.
"No great nation has progressed without science and technology," Megawati added.
Indonesia’s Largest Political Party
At the same conference, Jokowi praised PDI-P’s contribution amid the Covid-19 pandemic. PDI-P has also become a political party that consistently fights for the common people’s interests, according to Jokowi.
“In its 49th year, PDI-P has succeeded in becoming Indonesia’s largest political party,” Jokowi said.