President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla pose for a photo with members of the 2014-2019 cabinet on Friday. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Cabinet Announcement on Monday: Jokowi


OCTOBER 20, 2019

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he would announce his new cabinet on Monday, a day after his inauguration, prolonging speculation on the composition of the core team that will help him govern the country in the next five years. 

The president is under pressure to select a capable and professional team that can prop up confidence in the country's ability to stave off global economic turbulence. At the same time, he must allow for some concession to accommodate his ever-growing political coalition

"I will introduce the cabinet tomorrow morning," Jokowi said on Sunday, before leaving the State Palace to attend his inauguration at the House of Representatives compound. 

 "The most important thing after this inauguration is that we work together," he said. Jokowi said that politicians will fill 16 cabinet positions in his new cabinet, but did not mention any changes in the number of ministries. His 2014-2019 cabinet comprised 38 positions. 

Arief Puyuono, the deputy chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), said earlier this week that Jokowi and Prabowo Subianto, the Gerindra chairman and his former presidential rival, had reached an agreement to include three representatives of the party in the new cabinet. 

Earlier, experts and businesses said they have high hopes that Jokowi will pick experienced ministers in his new economic team to weather economic turbulence. 

"Worsening external environment will put pressure on economic growth. We expect Indonesia's real GDP growth to go down to 4.9 percent in 2019 and 4.7 percent in 2020 from 5.2 percent in 2018 due to weakening global growth and trade," Moody's Investor Service said in a note last week 

"Exports have already taken a hit and increasing uncertainty in the operating environment is raising the risk of a spillover to investment and private sector consumption," Moody's said.  

Bank Mandiri's senior economist Dendi Ramdani said that in light of such a situation, Jokowi must pick new economic ministers who understand the global and national economic situations and can make the right policies.

"In addition, the ministers should understand that in the long run, Indonesia must transform structurally by reducing dependence on the commodity sector
and developing the industrial sector. Policies must be directed to encourage and accelerate this transformation," Dendi said. 

Bhima Yudhistira, a researcher at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), said it would be ideal if the new economic ministers are not affiliated to any political party. The previous cabinet had an Industry Minister from the Golkar Party and a Trade Minister from the National Democratic Party (Nasdem).

"[If that happened again,] there would be clashes of interests and rent-seeking behaviors, which often negatively affect economic performance," Bhima said.

Non-affiliated ministers, Bhima said, "can focus on solving problems. They won't just work for two years, then start gathering votes and funds in 2022." 

Raden Pardede, an economist at think-tank Creco Consulting, said ministers in the new cabinet should be more open to suggestions. "The new cabinet needs figures who will listen to the people," Raden said. 

Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, the international relations deputy chairwoman of Indonesia's  Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), agreed. 

Shinta said the ministers must also be resolute problem solvers. According to her, many solutions for the country's economic problems have been identified, but their executions have been lax, protracting instead of ending the problems.