President Joko Widodo, right, congratulates Wiranto after inaugurating him as head of the Presidential Advisory Board (Wantimpres) at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Friday. (Antara Photo/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)

Wiranto Returns to Gov't as Presidential Advisor


DECEMBER 13, 2019

Jakarta. Retired army general Wiranto has been called back to the government by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Friday to serve a new role as the head of the nine-member Presidential Advisory Board, or Wantimpres.

The former chief security minister was excluded from the new cabinet after he was stabbed by a militant during a visit to Pandeglang, Banten, on Oct. 10, ten days before Jokowi was sworn in for a second term. 

"I thank President Jokowi for allowing me and my colleagues to continue serving the government in his second term," Wiranto told reporters at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.

He said the task of advising the president would not be an easy one even though the state leader already had a complete team. Having served Jokowi for the last three and a half years, Wiranto said he could understand what his boss wanted.

"I know him. Hopefully, we can contribute in different areas from what the president's current team is working on," Wiranto said.

His team comprises fellow retired army general Agung Laksono, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Sidarto Danusubroto, business tycoon Dato Sri Tahir, cosmetic maker Mustika Ratu chief commissioner Putri Kuswisnu Wardani, Muslim cleric Muhammad Luthfi bin Yahya, United Development Party (PPP) politician Mardiono, businessman Arifin Panigoro and Democratic Party politician Soekarwo.

"They have the capability, integrity and capacity to deliver the right advice when asked," the president told reporters after inaugurating the board members.

"Each has their own expertise: Habib Luthfi on social and religious affairs, Mr. Dato Tahir on the economy and Madame Putri on small and medium enterprises," he said.

Jokowi also said he still needed Wiranto's expertise in governance and defense issues.

"Mr. Wiranto has a long record and experience in the government and the TNI [Indonesian Military] and he has handled many issues capably," Jokowi said.

The president also said People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) chairman Oesman Sapta Odang had declined his offer to join the board.

"Because Wantimpres members cannot double up positions, especially with a political party. Mr. Oesman has told the state secretary that he preferred to lead his party, so he declined our offer," the president said.