Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Fresh Maneuver on Reshuffle, Aburizal strikes back

I was shocked when display the main story titled President to Replace Economic Ministers late Wednesday. I thought I had missed one of the most important statement people waiting for since I didn't hear such an articulate statement during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's speech and press conference in the afternoon.
But when I download the story then I realized it was not the president who made the statement but Mr Heru Lelono, special staff for president on development and regional autonomy issue. As quoted by, Mr Lelono said, "it's almost certain that cabinet reshuffle will be done in the near future."
The reason for such shakeup, Mr Lelono continued, "the president is upset with performance of some ministers. It started in March when government raised fuel price signigicantly. That time, ministers had promised to report implementation of compensation funds distributed to low-income families. But no reports since then both from chief economic minister Aburizal Bakrie and chief social affairs minister Alwi Shihab."
Nobody knows why Mr Lelono made such statement or who might asked him to do so. Who is Mr Lelono?
He was one of members in Team Eleven, a group of young intellectuals that helped Yudhoyono during campaign last year. Other members of this group are Denny J.A., Munawar Fuad Nuh, Joyo Winoto, M. Lutfi, M. Chatib Basri, Ervan Edison, Djali Yusuf, Andi Mallarangeng, Dino Patti Djalal, and Kurdi Mustofa.
Lelono was secretary general of United Indonesia Movement (Gerakan Indonesia Bersatu, GIB) and former activist at PDI-P (a party led by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri).
Is it possible that Yudhoyono asked Lelono to make the statement while formally he dismissed any speculation on a cabinet shakeup?
In the meantime, political newspaper Rakyat Merdeka run the story of Aburizal's resign as its headline. "He was so upset when he proposed to Yudhoyono to immediately increase fuel price two days ago but president rejected that," said one businessman who happen to be with him yesterday afternoon at Shangri-La Hotel while Yudhoyono announce new economic package.
The businessman said Aburizal is planning to submit his resignation but VP Jusuf Kalla and chairman of regional representatives council Ginanjar Kartasasmita (former chief economic minister) advised him to cancel that. Aburizal's absence during the TV appearance has sparked speculation that Yudhoyono is about to fire him.
Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) strongly opposed the reshuffle plan. Meanwhile Dr Sjahrir, president's economic advisor, said cabinet reshuffle is not a panacea to strengthen rupiah.
Just one hours ago, Aburizal said fuel price will be increased this month instead of after October as signaled by president in his speech yesterday. But just like Yudhoyono, no firm statement. "We are looking for opportunity to raise, if we could do it in September, we will do it," he said as quoted by
Actually this is a good news for market. The problem is whether Aburizal's statement is a genuine government's position or part of a political game.




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