Prabowo Subianto, left, and Edhy Prabowo leave the State Palace after a meeting with Jokowi on Monday. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)
Political Rivals, Chief Executives Line Up for Minister Posts as Jokowi Seeks to Build Consensus
BY :MARKUS JUNIANTO SIHALOHO, FAROUK ARNAZ, NUR YASMIN, DIANA MARISKA
OCTOBER 21, 2019
Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo stopped short of announcing his new cabinet on Monday but the list of people he invited to the State Palace throughout the day gave a few hints as to how his cabinet portfolios would shape up in the next five years.
The list included Jokowi's long-time political rival Prabowo Subianto, chief executives of major companies and a former chief justice. All of them confirmed the president had offered them ministerial posts.
Prabowo, the chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) who lost the presidential election for the second time to Jokowi in April, said he was offered a position "to help with the country's defense."
"I just met the president. Gerindra is always ready to help [the government]. Today we were officially asked for our help and we said we would deliver," Prabowo told reporters on Monday.
Prabowo came to the palace with his party deputy, Edhy Prabowo, who the former Army general said would also get a seat in the cabinet.
Prabowo refused to say which positions he or Edhy will occupy in the new cabinet, saying that Jokowi will make an official announcement on Wednesday.
The president has set lofty goals for his second term, seeking to focus on talent development, simplifying bureaucracy, cutting off red tapes, continuing infrastructure development and moving the country away from a resource-based economy.
However, Jokowi is likely to face a complicated combination of challenges, including the rise of intolerant, right-wing religious groups that threaten the country's unity. The country's economy is also under the shadow of a global recession, which could derail the president's economic ambitions.
"Facing all of these challenges, there is only one answer [for Jokowi]: national solidity," Jhonny G. Plate, the secretary-general of the National Democratic Party (NasDem) told Beritasatu on Monday.
Jhonny said he expected to see the next cabinet reflecting Jokowi's desire to unite major political powers in the country to weather the abovementioned challenges.
Hasto Kristiyanto, the secretary-general of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), agreed with Johnny's assessment, saying that the next administration would likely reflect a consolidation of political parties with the same ideology.
"A strong government would give us political stability, which is imperative for our economy," Hasto said.
The president had signaled many times in the past that he needed ministers who are hardworking, quick, progressive, innovative and can deliver on their promises.
Here are some of the ministerial candidates who met the president at the State Palace on Monday:
Mohammad Mahfud, known as Mahfud MD, was born in Sampang, East Java, on May 13, 1957. He holds two bachelor's degrees: in Law from the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) and in Arabic Literature from the Gadjah Mada University, both in Yogyakarta. He served as the Defense Minister and the Law and Human Rights Minister under President Abdurrahman Wahid in 1999-2001. Mahfud went on to become a lawmaker from 2004 before becoming Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court from 2008 until 2013. Mahfud said Jokowi had asked him on Monday to help with improving law enforcement and human rights in the next administration. "We discussed weak law enforcement and human rights violations. The president is aware of survey results that have been showing deteriorating law enforcement in the past few years," Mahfud said.
Nadiem, the founder of Indonesia's startup unicorn Gojek, was born in Singapore on April 4, 1984, to Nono Anwar Makarim, an activist and a lawyer, and Atika Algadri. He completed his bachelor's degree in international relations from Brown University and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Nadiem worked at management consultant McKinsey & Company from 2006 to 2009. He then co-founded Zalora and became its managing editor. He left Zalora in 2012. Nadiem started developing Gojek Indonesia in 2010 and became its chief executive from 2011, guiding the company into a $10 billion ride-hailing giant in Southeast Asia. Nadiem said he has resigned from Gojek Indonesia to take up a position in Jokowi's new cabinet.
Erick Thohir is a businessman. He was born in Jakarta on May 30, 1970. His father is Teddy Thohir who, along with William Soeryadjaya, founded the automotive conglomerate Astra International. Erick received a Bachelor of Arts degree from American College and an MBA from National University, California. After returning to Indonesia, he established Mahaka Media and served as its president director until 2008. An avid sports fan, Erick partly owns NBA team Philadelphia 76ers, Italian football club Internazionale Milano and local basketball club Satria Muda. Jokowi hired him in 2018 to lead his re-election campaign after Erick earned plaudits for heading the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC).
Edhy Prabowo, 46, was born in South Sumatra. He attended the Military Academy in Magelang, Central Java, in 1991 but dropped out two years later. After moving to Jakarta, Prabowo paid for him to study management at Moestopo University in 1997. Edhy also has a master's degree in business from Swiss-German University in Serpong, Tangerang, which he received in 2004. Edhy ran for the South Sumatra legislative election representing Gerindra in 2009 and won a seat at the House of Representatives. He has been a politician ever since and also a businessman who leads several companies.
The 49-year-old television veteran built his reputation in several of Indonesia's largest TV stations, producing a long list of award-winning entertainment programs. Wishnutama is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston. He has served as president director of Trans TV and Trans 7. Currently, he is the chief commissioner of Net TV, a television station he co-founded that used to be part of coal conglomerate Indika Group. Wishnutama was credited with producing the highly-praised opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Airlangga Hartarto, 58, served as Industry Minister in Jokowi's first cabinet. The seasoned politician became the chairman of the Golkar Party, the second-largest political party in Indonesia, in 2017 following scandals that saw two of the party's consecutive chairmen convicted of corruption. Airlangga completed a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Gadjah Mada University and a master's degree in management technology at Monash University and another degree in business administration at the University of Melbourne. The Surabaya-born politician has been with the Golkar Party since 1998 and started his career in government in 2004 as a representative of West Java in the House of Representatives. He chaired the House's Commission VI – overseeing industry, trade, investment and state owned-enterprises – when he proposed the 2014 Industry Law.
General Tito Karnavian, 54, was the youngest officer to have ever become a National Police Chief when he took the position three years ago. Tito graduated best-in-class from the Police Academy in 1987. While still a middle-ranking officer, he was involved in solving a number of high-profile terrorism cases, from the 2002 Bali bombings to the arrests of terrorist leaders Noordin M. Top and Dr. Azhari. Those arrests earned him the top job at the elite anti-terror squad Detachment 88 in 2009-2010. He later became the Papua Police chief from 2012 to 2014 and the Jakarta Police chief from 2015 to 2016, when he was widely praised for his handling of the Thamrin bomb attack.