Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

SBY's New Cabinet

The following report on several members of the new Indonesian cabinet was prepared by USINDO drawing on a variety of sources.

The new 37-member Indonesian cabinet announced October 21 combines a strong and proven economic team with talented new picks in such ministries as environment, health, and foreign affairs. Seventy percent of the cabinet is new, with 10 reappointments. 16 of the new cabinet members hold PhD’s, and 10 were educated in the US. The cabinet has a technocratic and professional emphasis, but also includes several who bring political talent at building consensus for policies.

That impressive economic manager and technocrat Boediono is Vice President and M. Hatta Rajasa is Coordinating Minister for the Economy offers some interesting possibilities for an economic team with complementary strengths. This is not the first time a PhD economist has been vice president (Indonesian’s first Vice President, Mohammad Hatta, was a PhD economist). Hatta Rajasa also has the personal trust of the President — this is his fourth appointment. It would therefore seem possible, under the President, for VP Boediono to guide economic strategy and for Coordinating Minister Hatta to coordinate and implement the strategy with stakeholders.

The business community is reassured by the continuance of strong performers Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Trade Minister Mari Pangestu in their positions. New Minister of Industry MS Hidayat also brings impressive credentials and links to the business community as Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (KADIN).

Education Minister Mohammad Nuh is new in this position but was formerly in the cabinet as Minister of Communication and Information Technology (2007-2009). He will face an agenda of continuing educational reforms that build the capacity of public sector educational institutions, fostering the development of private sector educational institutions, and increasing international exchanges and partnerships.

In several other technical ministries fresh new talent with strong academic credentials has been brought in:

Environment Minister Gusti M. Hatta is a respected academician, educated in the Netherlands. He was professor and deputy rector of Lambung Mangkurat University School of Forestry, where he helped establish an environmental research center. Known for integrity and talent, he will lead on Indonesian climate change issues in the new administration.

The new Minister of Health, Dr. Ending Rahayu Sedyaningish, is a Harvard-educated Doctor of Public Health with expertise in HIV prevention and avian influenza. She is relatively little known, but clearly has the credentials for addressing Indonesia’s many domestic and international health issues.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Darwin Zahedy Saleh also comes from an academic background, with a PhD in management from the University of Indonesia School of Economics. With no specific energy background, he will need to be a quick study regarding the domestic and international issues specific to the energy sector. The Minister is a member of the Democratic Party.

New Foreign Minister Marti Natalegawa, who was Indonesian’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., has a PhD in International relations. He has been a rising star at the Foreign Ministry (DEPLU). He is well placed to continue Indonesia’s increasingly effective role on the world stage.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a former energy and mining minister who headed the post-tsunami Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR), now heads a new body called the Presidential Unit for the Management of Programs (UKP3). The unit aims to speed up strategic programs. It is likely to begin focus on infrastructure and civil service reform, but could well evolve into other assignments.

New National Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM ) Chairman Gita Wirjawan is another rising star who was formerly country head of JP Morgan Indonesia, and a master’s degree graduate of the JFK School of Government at Harvard. He is expected to be vigorous and innovative in attempting to increase investment.

The cabinet also contains two defeated legislative candidates, former parliament (DPR) speaker Agung Laksono (Golkar Party, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare), and Patrialis Akbar, (PAN party, Minister of Justice and Human Rights).

We have provided several press articles on the subject which can be found here. The views expressed there are those of the authors and not necessarily those of USINDO.