Friday, October 14, 2005

Latest round-up on Indonesia's cabinet reshuffle

Dear Bloggers,
Below is a round-up of situation confronted by Indonesian political parties regarding cabinet reshuffle.

Golkar Party: Some party executives said the party’s internal meeting next week will discuss its position on government. If the party decides to be a ruling party, it would ask more cabinet seats than the current two ministers (Chief Economic Minister Aburizal Bakrie and Manpower Minister Fahmi Idris). Six cabinet posts is expected.

But today, the party’s chairman Jusuf Kalla who also the vice president denied such intention. Kalla has rejected a cabinet reshuffle and is expected to strongly oppose any plan to kick Aburizal out of cabinet.

To reduce tension with Kalla and Golkar as the largest party in house of representatives (DPR), president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono might keep Aburizal in cabinet with different portfolio, but in return Golkar will get more seats including the money-spinning State-Owned Enterprise Ministry. This is the most difficult part should SBY go ahead with the reshuffle.

Partai Persatuan Pembangunan: The party executives wanted to pull out its cadres (Minister for Small Medium Enterprise and Cooperatives Suryadharma Ali and Minister for SOE Sugiharto) saying both failed to give significant contribution to the party. It would be easier for SBY to address PPP.

Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB): While both sides of the aisle, Alwi Shihab and Muhaimin Iskandar (backed by former president Abdurrahman Wahid), claimed as the support from party members, Muhaimin camp clearly asked SBY to sack Alwi (Coordinating Minister for Welfare Affairs) and Saefullah Yusuf (Minister for Underdeveloped Areas). It is not clear whether Muhaimin camp want to fill these posts and be the supporting political party for SBY. This one is also tricky for SBY as accommodating Muhaimin camp would only strengthen their political muscle while the president is upset with the party’s opposition on fuel price hike policy.

Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN): The party, struggling with ongoing split following the chairmanship conflict, has sent mixed signal on cabinet reshuffle. While some PAN legislators wanted a cabinet reshuffle, the party’s chairman Sutrisno Bachir (a businessman and close ally of Aburizal) repeatedly saying PAN is against a cabinet reshuffle. This one would be easier for SBY but potentially widen political division in PAN as party members are critical of Aburizal’s economic team. PAN has two members in the cabinet. They are Hatta Rajasa (minister for transportation) and Bambang Sudibyo (minister for education).

Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS): In its cabinet review published early this month, PKS supports a cabinet reshuffle with special mention on the under perform economic team. PKS has three members in cabinet. They are Anton Supriantono (agriculture minister), Adhyaksa Dault (sport), and Muhammad Yusuf Ashari (Housing).

Partai Demokrat: This is the main supporter for SBY right from his candidacy and now led by Hadi Utomo, SBY’s brother-in-law. The party also recommended a cabinet reshuffle, especially the economic team. The party is conducting polling on the issue and the interim result is almost 90 percent respondents support the reshuffle. In a meeting with SBY, the party reaffirmed of the president's plan to reshuffle the cabinet.

Partai Bulan Bintang: The party has two members in cabinet, minister for state secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra and forestry minister MS Ka’ban (party chairman). No public statement, but Yusril is under pressure regarding corruption charges on his office and currently under investigation.

Other Parties: PDI-P, the second-largest party in DPR, has confirmed its opposition stance and would stay away from the issue. Small parties like Partai Damai Sejahtera (PDS), Partai Bintang Reformasi, and others would not be significant in the issue.

Other Voices: Minister for Environment Affairs Rachmat Witoelar, a confidante to SBY, said economic hardship can't be solved with replacing ministers. PAN Chairman Sutrisno Bachir admitted that in his meeting with SBY, the president promised to give one more chance (one year) to cabinet members with average performance.

Other ministers proposed to be replaced by most parties and experts?
Minister of Finance Yusuf Anwar, Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Wirajuda, Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin, and Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Widodo AS.


Conclusion?

A Big Question Mark of whether SBY ever has the gut to reshuffle the cabinet in a big way!

Maximum output: Mini-reshuffle with the same character, another rainbow cabinet, and consisted of too many political appointees!

Schedule: November will be the earliest.

Anyway, do we have to take this issue seriously? I need a fresh air and stories that could cheer you up!

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