Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD, right, shakes hands with his predecessor, Wiranto, at his office in Jakarta on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak)

Wiranto Leaves Hospital to Welcome Successor Mahfud MD


OCTOBER 23, 2019

Jakarta. Retired Army general Wiranto needed a permit from his doctor to attend a handover ceremony after Mahfud MD officially replaced him as coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister on Wednesday.

Wiranto was admitted to Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital on Oct. 10, after he was stabbed by an Islamic militant during a visit to Pandeglang, Banten.

He said Mahfud was the right man to fill the post he vacated and asked his former subordinates to fully support their new boss, because his office oversees 10 related ministries and five state agencies. 

"It's quite a big task," Wiranto said. "You have the experience, so I need your cooperation and willingness to support Mr. Mahfud and reduce the burden of his difficult task."

Mahfud was moved by Wiranto's presence, saying his initial plan was to hold the ceremony in hospital.

"Shortly after my inauguration at the State Palace, my plan was to come here and ask the secretary to rearrange the ceremony, because we know Mr. Wiranto was in hospital," the law professor said.

"But I was told Mr. Wiranto had been waiting for me at the office. I was really touched by this, because I thought we could hold the ceremony at the hospital."

Mahfud, 62, is the first chief security minister without a military background.  

He served as defense minister for 11 months and as justice minister for only a few days between August 2000 and July 2001, during the presidency of Abdurrahman Wahid.

He was appointed as Constitutional Court chief justice and remained in the post for nearly five years, until 2013.

Mahfud was prepared as a running mate for Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the April presidential election. A presidential aide even asked him to try on a special outfit for the formal announcement, but his candidacy was canceled mere hours before the announcement, which saw Jokowi picking Ma'ruf Amin instead.