Four new Cabinet members sworn in by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace on Thursday pledged to boost the performance of the institutions they will lead until 2014.
The four are Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi, Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Rudi Rubiandini, National Land Agency (BPN) head Hendarman Supandji and Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chief M. Chatib Basri.
“I must say I’m happy [to be a minister] but I’m also feeling the challenges, and the ones we are facing in the health sector today are huge,” Nafsiah told journalists at the Health Ministry after the swearing in ceremony.
Despite the huge challenges and the fact that she only has a two-year tenure until Yudhoyono’s administration ends in 2014, Nafsiah said she was optimistic of achieving the targets set by the ministry.
“I believe that my colleagues both in the Health Ministry and health-related agencies at local levels
really want people in this country to stay healthy. I believe I will work with the best professionals from whom I will receive good advice,” said Nafsiah.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Nafsiah signed an integrity pact.
“It’s the same pact the late minister Endang signed when she started working in the Cabinet. It gives the details of strategic priorities the government will develop in the health sector in its second term. These are priorities we will achieve, secure and improve if necessary,” she said, referring to her predecessor Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, who died of lung cancer.
Rudi, an energy expert, succeeds his Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) professor Widjajono Parto-widagdo, who passed away on April 21 while climbing Mt. Tambora in West Nusa Tenggara.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said he would not find any difficulty working with Rudi as his new deputy given the latter’s previous position as the deputy of operations at the upstream oil and gas authority BPMigas.
Hendarman, meanwhile, is expected to boost settlements of disputes in the agrarian sector.
Yudhoyono previously said he hoped Hendarman, as a senior prosecutor, could utilize his legal expertise to overcome the rampant legal problems in the sector.
Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, Hendarman said he was eager to accomplish the President’s mandate.
“One big task I will be dealing with is carrying out agrarian reform. Among others is smoothing the process of distributing land to citizens in remote areas,” said Hendarman, who is a childhood friend of First Lady Ani Yudhoyono.
“But my initial work will be mapping the problems surrounding this sector. This is not an easy job given the thousands of land disputes across the archipelago. But I will complete this task and present the results to the President within a month,” he added.
Hendarman replaces Joyo Winoto, who has been implicated in a high-profile graft case surrounding the construction of a mega sports complex in Hambalang, West Java.
“The Hambalang case is now being probed by the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission]. I will not undermine the commission’s job. I will provide access to any data or document the KPK needs to investigate the case,” Hendarman said.
Despite his promise, the former attorney general will face a tough challenge in dealing with internal affairs within the BPN.
The KPK has named the BPN the least-transparent government institution with the worst record in fighting corruption.
Yudhoyono announced the Cabinet change in Bogor, West Java, on Wednesday and held the swearing-in ceremony at the State Palace in Jakarta.