The President’s military and family friends top the list of candidates given to the House of Representatives to consider as Indonesia’s next ambassadors to 20 nations.
Former Air Force chief Air Marshal (ret.) Herman Prayitno was proposed as the nation’s next ambassador to Malaysia on the list that was sent to the House Commission I overseeing foreign affairs, defense and intelligence.
Herman, who was involved in President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yono’s reelection in 2009, graduated from the Military Academy with Yudhoyono in 1973.
The ambassadorial posting to Malaysia has been vacant for almost a year, which critics said has hamstrung efforts to aid beleaguered Indonesian migrant workers in the nation.
The top job in Kuala Lumpur is considered “politically and economically lucrative”, given that about 3 million Indonesians are currently working in Malaysia.
Commission I lawmaker Muhammad Najib of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said relations with Malaysia had been hindered by the long absence of a permanent Indonesian envoy.
“The new ambassador must be capable of handling the complex problem involving Indonesian workers and border issues,” Najib said.
“Millions of Indonesians are currently residing there; more than 1 million of them are working illegally,” Najib added.
Meanwhile, the name of a friend of the First Family, diplomat Djumantoro Purbo, was also forwarded as the nation’s envoy to Slovakia.
Djumantoro is the son of Army Gen. (ret.) Purbo Sugiarto Suwondo, who served alongside legendary Gen. Sarwo Edhi Wibowo, the father of First Lady Ani Yudhoyono.
In 2009, Djumantoro was named a graft suspect by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), although charges were dropped in 2010 due to a lack of evidence.
Commission I deputy chairman Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tubagus Hasanuddin of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said that specific motivations behind nominating specific candidates would be inevitable.
“What’s important is the candidate is really capable and knows how to overcome problems in bilateral relations,” Tubagus said.
Other ambassadorial candidates:
1. Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, a deputy minister at the Office of Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister, and former ambassador to the EU (Australia)
2. John Prasetyo, businessman and a special staffer for Industry Minister (S. Korea)
3. Rizali Wilmar Indrakesuma, Foreign Ministry’s South and Central Asia director (India)
4. Burhan Muhammad, National Intelligence Agency’s (BIN) deputy for foreign affairs (Pakistan)
5. Teguh Wardoyo, Consul-General in Hong Kong, China (Jordan)
6. Foster Gultom, Foreign Ministry’s secretary to the director general of ASEAN cooperation (Kazakhstan)
7. Iwan Wira, diplomat at the Indonesian Embassy in Japan (Bangladesh)
8. Rachmat Budiman, Foreign Ministry’s director for political treaties (Austria)
9. Ronny P. Yuliantoro, Foreign Ministry’s director for Middle East affairs (Tunisia)
10. Wajid Fauzi, Foreign Ministry’s secretary to the director general for protocol (Yemen)
11. Harimawan Suyitno, Consul-General in Guangzhou, China (Sri Lanka)
12. Benny Bahana Dewa, Consul-General in Chicago, US (Greece)
13. Chilman Arisman, Consul-General in Penang, Malaysia (Bahrain)
14. Maj. Gen. Ansori Tajudin, TNI chief’s intelligence assistant (Afghanistan)
15. Zakaria Anshar, Consul-General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Tanzania)
16. Agus Parengkuan, senior journalist at Kompas daily (Italy)
17. Nunik Koen, senior diplomat (Ukraine)
18. Primanto, senior diplomat (Timor Leste)