JAKARTA, INDONESIA — President Joko Widodo’s plans to set up a separate ministry for investment affairs have given birth to speculation on whether Indonesia’s Cabinet will undergo a reshuffle in the near future.
Several names have emerged as possible candidates of officeholders in Jokowi’s new cabinet, ranging from Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — former Jakarta governor and current commissioner at state-owned oil giant PT Pertamina — to popular host and celebrity Raffi Ahmad.
Numerous polls have sought public opinion on which ministers should be replaced.
A survey conducted by Indonesia Political Opinion (IPO) revealed that Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has demonstrated the most satisfactory performance, while Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly was listed as the most underperforming one.
Research by the Saiful Mujani Research Center (SMRC) indicated that 77 per cent of respondents surveyed felt satisfied with the government’s performance.
Reactions to the reshuffle speculation
Political analysts have also predicted that a Cabinet reshuffle is impending in Indonesia, following the merger of the ministry of education and the ministry of research and technology.
Bambang Brodjonegoro has resigned as the minister of research and technology, raising questions if the minister of education Nadiem Makarim will be replaced soon.
Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rahman refused to elaborate on the speculation, saying he cannot override the President’s authority.
Fadjroel only made sure of three things: The integration of research and technology into the ministry of education, the establishment of a separate ministry handling investment, and that the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) will be a separate entity from the ministry of research and technology.
Assessing the impact of the new ministry
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) hailed the government’s plan to set up an investment-specific ministry, as the current Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is only for investors’ registration.
“Relations among the relevant ministries have not been able to work seamlessly, as those who are going to invest will register at BKPM, but the rules and regulation are handled by those ministries,” said KADIN Deputy of Food and Husbandry, Juan Permata Adoe during a virtual discussion on 10 Apr.
The ministries he referred to were the ministry of industry, ministry of trade, and ministry of agriculture.
Juan anticipates that the new investment ministry will serve as a breakthrough for KADIN, as investors will rely on supply chains guaranteed by a single ministry.
On the merging of the education ministry and the research and technology ministry, Research Advisor at Center for Innovation Policy and Governance, Yanuar Nugroho posited in The Conversation that there is a likelihood that the National Research and Innovation Body (BRIN), as an independent body, will have an overlapping role as the new merger will handle everything from education to research.
BRIN as an independent research agency is tasked with integrating all non-ministries related to research and such a process will be time-consuming.
Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Science at UHAMKA, Tellys Corliana told Tribun News that the merger of the ministry of education and the ministry of research is not necessary.
“In my opinion, it is not the right thing to integrate the ministry of research and technology into the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Research has carried out its duties at its best. When both ministries are combined, it will take more time to adapt,” the expert explained.