President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday ordered his ministers to stay in the country and focus on finishing their government programs for 2012.
“If it is not necessary, they do not need to travel abroad,” Yudhoyono remarked during a speech he made to open a Cabinet meeting at the State Palace on Tuesday.
Yudhoyono said the ban on Cabinet ministers traveling abroad would encourage them to finish their agenda for this year.
“Each minister can undertake an evaluation and see what is needed to be done to finish the work in the next month,” Yudhoyono said.
He also said that all ministers must also have made plans for next year by the end of this year.
“Do not wait until the middle of next year or by the end of next year. Everything must be set in January, our jobs and assignments,” Yudhoyono said.
Speculation was rife that the ban against traveling abroad was to prepare ministers for a possible Cabinet reshuffle in the coming weeks.
Rumors were also circulating that rifts within the Cabinet could lead to a Cabinet reshuffle early next year.
The Cabinet reshuffle is expected to be in January 2013, and will possibly be the last change before Yudhoyono ends his second term in 2014.
Last week, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam filed a report with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which alleged that three ministries are engaged in collusion with members of the House of Representatives.
Many have described Dipo’s move as part of an elaborate plan hatched by Yudhoyono to justify the afore mentioned reshuffle.
Others have said that Dipo may have been laying the groundwork to oust ministers who have been implicated in extramarital affairs from the Cabinet during the reshuffle, or perhaps to fire Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, who has been implicated in several graft scandals.
Presidential aide Heru Lelono has said that the President will definitely take firm action should ministers be proven to have misappropriated state budget.