McLARTY INDONESIA UPDATE: Jokowi Announces New Cabinet

October 23, 2019


    • Indonesia’s President Jokowi announced on October 23 his new cabinet, which comprises 21 new and 17 returning ministers.
    • Jokowi included rival Prabowo Subianto as Minister of Defense and some much needed youth and dynamism such as Go-Jek founder Nadiem Makarim as Minister of Education and Culture. Key retentions from the previous cabinet include Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan with new additional responsibility for investment, and his presidential staff office.
    • Jokowi’s inclusion of senior politicians in his cabinet may make it challenging to reach consensus on key issues.
    • Jokowi’s decision to not appoint experienced technocrats to the trade, energy, communications and industry portfolios is disappointing given Indonesia’s macroeconomic challenges and his vision to modernize Indonesia’s economy.
    • As he starts his second term, Jokowi faces major questions from his young base of support regarding his commitment to anti-corruption efforts, freedom of expression, and other sensitive issues the Parliament has been pushing.

On October 23, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo unveiled his second working cabinet, also known as the “Indonesia Maju Cabinet 2019-2024”. A total of 38 members make up Jokowi’s cabinet with 34 members assigned to lead individual ministries and four holding a ministerial rank. Featuring a combination of professionals and politicians, Jokowi made surprise choices including appointing former rival Prabowo Subianto as Minister of Defense and Go-Jek founder and CEO, Nadiem Makarim as Minister of Education and Culture. However, Jokowi has also retained several close advisors and allies in his cabinet, including Luhut Pandjaitan as coordinating minister of the newly renamed Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Sri Mulyani as finance minister and Retno Marsudi as foreign affairs minister. Jokowi has also preserved much of his presidential staff from his first term, keeping Moeldoko as his chief of staff, Pratikno as state secretary, and Pramono Anung as cabinet secretary.

Key New Ministers

Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Political Legal and Security Affairs

A former chief justice, Mahfud brings a wealth of experience to his role as Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs. He was the Minister of Justice and Human Rights as well as the Minister of Defense during the Wahid presidency. During his time as chief justice, he oversaw several progressive decisions made by the court. Largely viewed as a reformer, Mahfud’s position as Coordinating Minister will however limit his ability to influence significant changes. Observers also contend that Mahfud’s position is consolation from Jokowi for dropping him as the vice-presidential candidate in the run-up to the 2019 elections.

Nadiem Makarim, Minister for Education and Culture

One of Jokowi’s surprising appointments, Nadiem Makarim joins the cabinet after decades in the private sector as the founder and CEO of Indonesia’s first decacorn, Go-Jek. A former McKinsey consultant and graduate of Harvard Business School, Nadiem will be the youngest minister in the cabinet at age 35 and has the difficult task of tackling Indonesia’s training and higher education challenges. His ties to Brown and Harvard will likely be helpful as US universities seek to establish partnerships in Indonesia. Nadiem joins a renamed ministry that likely will encompass all levels of education. Observers are optimistic that Nadiem will bring innovative ideas to the cabinet and hope that he will revolutionize education in the same way he has revolutionized Indonesia’s transportation industry. He will also be a voice for the young people who have taken to the streets to protest new restrictions on the Corruption Eradication Commission.

Erick Thohir, Minister of State-Owned Enterprise

Hailing from the corporate world, but with good friendly ties to the US as a former part owner of the US soccer club DC United, Erick Thohir is the founder and chairman of Mahaka Group which focuses on media and entertainment. He also has interests in the sports world, owning stakes in basketball and soccer clubs worldwide. While he lacks government experience, he has served in national-level capacities such as heading the 2018 Asian Games organizing team, being the Chief of Mission of the Indonesian Contingent for the 2012 Olympic Games and as the Chairman of Indonesia’s National Olympic Committee for 2015-2019. He was also tapped by Jokowi to lead his re-election campaign in collaboration with several of Jokowi’s trusted allies who are also members of this Cabinet. Jokowi has charged Erick to build and expand state-owned enterprises to the global market. As an outsider to government, he is expected to provide fresh perspectives into government alongside fellow newcomer Nadiem Makarim.

Bahlil Lahadila, Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)

Bahlil replaces Tom Lembong, a seasoned economic technocrat with a breadth of international experience. An Indonesian businessman and former chairman of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI), Bahlil brings some youth to the position but less experience than the always-frank Lembong who often faced Cabinet criticism for his public candor of Indonesia’s challenges.

Agus Gumiwang Kartasmita, Minister of Industry

Formerly serving as the Minister of Social Affairs during Jokowi’s first term, Agus, who is also a Golkar politician, has said that the president has tasked him with developing human resources and transforming manufacturing to ensure that small industries are part of the industrial supply chain. Agus is a long-time politician and first joined the House of Representatives in 1998.

Terawan Agus Putranto, Minister of Health

Terawan Agus Putranto is currently the Head of the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital (RSPAD) in Jakarta. A longtime doctor in the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), he has confirmed that he will relinquish his positions as Head of RSPAD and as a member of TNI upon assuming his position. Terawan previously served as the Presidential Doctor in 2009. Terawan stated that his main priorities are to resolve the problems faced by the Social Security Administrator for Health (BPJS Kesehatan) and the issue of childhood stunting.

Tito Karnavian, Minister of Home Affairs

A seasoned and respected veteran of the national police force, Tito Karnavian was previously Chief of the Indonesian National Police where he has served since 2016. Tito brings with him decades of experience in counterterrorism including running the National Agency for Combating Terrorism and earlier affiliations with Indonesia’s elite anti-terror unit, Densus 88. Some of Tito’s early challenges as Minister will be adapting to an organization made up of civil servants as opposed to disciplined police officers, a hurdle he has acknowledged in statements to the press.

Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defense

While an unexpected appointment, Prabowo’s appointment helped pave the way for Gerindra to join Jokowi’s ruling coalition. Prabowo will bring new strategic focus to the Ministry and can be expected to be a strong advocate for a strong Indonesian military. Despite past criticism in the US for his checkered human rights record, he is likely to be open to good relations with the US military and US companies.

Agus Suparmanto, Minister of Trade

A politician in the National Awakening Party (PKB) and president of the Indonesian Fencing Association, Agus was assigned by the president to promote domestic commodities to boost Indonesian exports and trade balance. Agus is widely unknown to the public and local political pundits have acknowledged that they know little about him. With minimal experience for a technical post, it is unclear how effective he may be in his posting.

Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources (ESDM)

Arifin joins the cabinet after serving as the Indonesian ambassador to Japan where he has served since 2017. He brings with him considerable experience in running state-owned enterprises, including as managing director at Pupuk Indonesia, Pupuk Sriwijaya, and Petrokimia Gresik. He was involved in the development of the gas rich Masela block by Japan’s Inpex for $20 billion. His relative lack of experience may impede the much-needed review of Indonesia’s energy policies and progress to encourage renewables to meet Indonesia’s climate pledges.

Johnny G Plate, Minister of Communications and Information

A long-time politician and businessman, Johnny Plate is also the Secretary General of the Nasdem Party. Johnny first joined politics in 2013 as a member of the Indonesian Democratic Unity Party (PKDI) before joining the Nasdem Party as a member of the House of Representatives the following year. He has also served as a commissioner for Air Asia Indonesia, Mandosawu Putratama Sakti, PT. Aryan Indonesia, and Bima Palma Group. Speaking to the press, Johnny revealed that Jokowi tasked him with reviewing regulation regarding tech start-ups and data privacy issues.

Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Minister of Agriculture

A former governor of South Sulawesi, Syahrul joins the Cabinet as the successor to Andi Amran Sulaiman. He previously served as the vice governor of South Sulawesi and the regent of Gowa. He started his political career with Golkar, but switched to Nasdem in 2018. One of the priorities for Syahrul is to end slash-and-burn practices in collaboration with Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar. Indonesia which suffers from regular occurrences of haze stands to benefit from the elimination of such a practice as it disrupts economic activity and threatens public health. Syahrul should have good synergy with Siti as both are members of Nasdem.

Politicians vs. Technocrats

Jokowi had to balance finding positions for his political party coalition members with his desire to find experienced young technocrats. A total of 17 out of the 38 politicians are seasoned politicians, with five from PDI-P, three from the Nasdem Party, three from the National Awakening Party (PKB), three from the Golkar Party, two from the Gerindra Party, and one from the United Development Party (PPP). It is noteworthy that three political party leaders (Gerindra, Golkar, Nasdem) are also concurrently serving in Jokowi’s new cabinet, a complete shift away from Jokowi’s first-term rule that ministers should not also hold political posts. The inclusion of former opposition leaders like Prabowo may make it more challenging to get consensus on key issues.

Jokowi’s decision to keep the highly competent Sri Mulyani as Finance Minister is very welcome news. Airlangga Hartarto’s move from Industry Minister to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs will help him inject new energy and imagination to the position. On the other hand, it is disappointing Jokowi did not appoint experienced technocrats to key positions in trade, energy, communications and industry. 

Notably, only five of the 38 ministers are female, a decrease from eight during Jokowi’s first term. Jokowi also did not appoint a native Papuan minister which will further embitter Papuans, nor are there any who are of Chinese-Indonesian descent.

Jokowi’s appointments also highlight his intention to counter Islamic radicalism during his second term. This includes picking Fachrul Razi, a retired military general, to lead the Religious Affairs Ministry. Razi’s appointment adds to Jokowi’s growing list of retired military officers in his cabinet including Luhut Pandjaitan, Moeldoko, Prabowo Subianto, Terawan Agus, and Tito Karnavian

Agenda for Second Term

In his inauguration speech last Sunday, Jokowi pledged to focus on five areas:

  1. developing a dynamic and hardworking workforce;
  2. continuing infrastructure development;
  3. simplifying regulations by creating two omnibus laws, one on job creation and one on small business empowerment;
  4. simplifying bureaucracy; and
  5. transforming the economy from one that is dependent on natural resources to one that is competitive in modern manufacturing and services.

But to achieve progress on these goals, he will have to also manage some tough questions:

  1. How will he reassure those who constitute his most loyal and younger base of support and who have driven the most serious protests since the Asian Financial Crisis and the fall of Suharto that he is serious about addressing corruption now that a new law weakening the KPK is on the books?
  2. How much of an Islamic agenda will he support both on the business side to promote Indonesia’s halal economy and on questions like criminalizing premarital sex, and toughening laws on blasphemy and criticizing the President and VP?
  3. Will the planned move of the capital to Kalimantan by 2024 shift resources from infrastructure development and divert attention from other important priorities?
  4. Will his team of rivals help accelerate progress on his agenda or will they serve as a check that impedes progress?

For now, Jokowi retains strong popular support, but his response to these challenges will test his strong political skills and support.

A full list of ministers in Jokowi’s second cabinet can be found below:

Ministers Retaining their Positions

  1. Luhut Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment
  2. Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  3. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance
  4. Yasonna Laoly, Minister of Law and Human Rights
  5. Budi Karya Sumadi, Minister of Transportation
  6. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment and Forestry
  7. Basuki Hadi Muljono, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing
  8. Pratikno, State Secretary
  9. Moeldoko, Presidential Chief of Staff
  10. Pramono Anung, Cabinet Secretary

Ministers Reassigned

  1. Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs (Former Minister of Industry)
  2. Muhadjir Effendy, Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Culture (Former Minister of Education and Culture)
  3. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister of Research and Technology (Former National Development Planning Minister)
  4. Tjahjo Kumolo, Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (Former Minister of Home Affairs)

Ministers from Jokowi’s Previous Staff and Cabinet

  1. Tito Karnavian, Minister of Home Affairs (reassigned from Chief of the National Police)
  2. Teten Masduki, Minister of Cooperatives (formerly a member of the presidential staff)
  3. Sofyan Djalil, Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (former Minister of National Development Planning and Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs prior to a reshuffle)

New Faces

  1. Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Political Legal and Security Affairs (PKB)
  2. Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defense (Gerindra)
  3. Fakhrul Razi, Minister of Religious Affairs
  4. Agus Gumiwang Kartasmita, Minister of Industry (Golkar)
  5. Nadiem Makarim, Minister for Education and Culture
  6. Terawan Agus Putranto, Minister of Health
  7. Juliari Batubara, Minister for Social Affairs
  8. Ida Fauziah, Minister of Manpower
  9. Agus Suparmanto, Minister of Trade
  10. Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources (ESDM)
  11. Johnny G Plate, Minister of Industry
  12. Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Minister of Agriculture
  13. Edhy Prabowo, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
  14. Abdul Halim Iskandar, Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration
  15. Suharso Monoarfa, Minister of National Development Planning and Head of Bappenas
  16. Erick Thohir, Minister of State-Owned Enterprise
  17. Wishnutama, Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy
  18. I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati, Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection
  19. Zainudin Amali, Minister of Youth and Sports
  20. Bahlil Lahadila, Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM)
  21. ST Burhanuddin, Attorney General

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