Friday, October 23, 2009

Sad for Nila, a "crisis" for SBY

She was crying when she's informed that she can't be the health minister. Hundreds of well-arranged congratulation flowers have been arrived at her residence. She then asked housemaid to take the flowers away. 
Nila Djuwita Moeloek had been widely mentioned as candidate for health minister. She is a professor, an ophthalmologist, and one of few people invited to a discussion with visiting US President George W. Bush few years back in Bogor, West Java. 
Nila is the wife of former health minister Farid Anfasa Moeloek, an anti-smoking spokesperson. Farid once said government shall issue a regulation to ban smoking because potential losses to the State is estimated at Rp325 trillion per annum, while contribution from tobacco excise is about Rp50 trillion per annum. 
Rumors quickly spreading that Nila failed a "psychological test". Nila confirmed that according to the test, she can't handle working under stress. Interestingly, some reports pointed to four other candidates of failed medical test (two others for psychological test, one for heart, and the other one for hepatitis C). 
"But why Nila is the only one replaced," Ribka Tjiptaning, chairperson of the House Commission IX (health affairs), a politician from PDI-P, questioned.
Ribka doesn't believe in the medical test behind the decision to replace Nila with Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih. The steamy allegation is that SBY was "under pressures" to replace Nila, from both local (cigarette companies) and international lobbies. Endang is considered a "good friend" of US government program Naval Medical Research Unit (Namru) 2.
Advisory board of Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) doesn't believe Nila can't stand stress because as ophthalmologist, she is used to work under high stress. "From medical point of view, Nila is fit and healthy. But of course it has nothing to do with the political "fit and proper" test result. May be she is not fit "under political pressures"?" Hasbullah Thabrani, dean of Medical School at University of Indonesia commented cynically.
Political observers, as usual, also fired criticism towards SBY's decision. But SBY defended his decision this morning saying "in the selection process, she (Nila) is superb, but in one or two spots, I think won't be wise for me to push her in a department."    




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