Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso, chief of detectives at the National Police, is rumored to have been removed from his post. (Antara Foto/M Agung Rajasa)

Minister Rebuffs Claims President Is Behind Rumored Police Reshuffle


SEPTEMBER 03, 2015

Jakarta. A senior official has denied speculation that President Joko Widodo is involved in the rumored reassignment of a top police officer.

Politicians and members of the police force were quick to link the supposed plan to replace National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso with his unit's raid on state-owned port operator Pelindo II last week.

Richard J. Lino, head of Pelindo II, threatened to resign last week after the disruption wreaked on his office’s operations as a result of the series of raids, which he argued were unwarranted and excessive.

Lino reported the matter to State Owned Enterprise Minister Rini Soemarno and Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Just a few days after the raid, a source inside the State Palace said Budi would soon be replaced for "slowing down the economy," a claim which government and police officials will neither confirm nor deny.

Coordinating Minister for Poitics, Legal and Security Luhut Pandjaitan said any potential reshuffle "is police internal affairs."

"The president has nothing to do with it. The president only speaks on a strategic level and he is more focused on the economy," Luhut said.

The minister also warned Budi's men to stay professional after Victor Simanjuntak, one of Budi' directors, threatened to resign if his boss is indeed replaced.

"Every police officer took an oath of allegiance to the force. Just like I did when I was in the military. [Victor] has no right to make such threats," he said.

Budi is rumored to be reassigned as chief of the National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) to replace Comr. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution, who will soon enter retirement age.

Said to be replacing Budi as the National Police's second most powerful officer after the police chief is Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian, Jakarta Police chief.

It is not clear who would then replace Tito as the capital's top police officer.