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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Gita'€™s deputy could be his replacement

  • Bagus BT Saragih and Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Mon, February 3, 2014 | 09:54 am
Gita'€™s deputy could be his replacement

Bayu Krisnamurthi. Antara

Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi has been touted as the best fit to replace Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, who has tendered his resignation to the President to pursue the presidency via the ruling Democratic Party (PD).

Analysts and business communities have also said the technocrat would be an appropriate choice for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono because of his experience as Gita'€™s deputy since 2011. However, there has also been speculation that Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa could serve as de-facto trade minister until Yudhoyono'€™s term ends in October.

Bayu, who was also a former deputy agriculture minister from 2010 until 2011, is believed to be capable of maintaining the policies of Gita'€™s leadership and not make major policy changes. Hence, his appointment is believed to be able to calm the market, which is now anxiously waiting for the new trade
minister.

'€œThe market is now paying much attention to the next trade minister. The market needs policy consistency. Businesspeople don'€™t want to see great policy changes when a minister is replaced,'€ Enny Sri Hartati, an economist from the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance, said as quoted by tempo.co.

Suryo Bambang Sulisto, the chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), echoed Enny'€™s statement, saying that it would be too risky if the President picked a figure from outside the ministry to replace Gita, given the short eight months of remaining tenure for Yudhoyono'€™s Cabinet.

If appointed, Bayu would not need much time to adapt, hence, the ministry'€™s performance would not be too disturbed by Gita'€™s departure, he added.

'€œI suggest the President picks Bayu. It would not effective if he chose a figure from outside the ministry,'€ he said, adding that he thought Bayu had done a good job as a deputy minister.

Industry Minister MS Hidayat hinted that '€œGita'€™s replacement would be from within [the Trade Ministry].'€

'€œThere are some candidates. Bayu could be one of them,'€ he added.

State Secretary Sudi Silalahi said the President had approved Gita'€™s resignation but asked him to keep serving as trade minister until the President named his replacement.

Citing the President'€™s prerogative to name a minister, both Sudi and presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha refused to disclose who would serve the remaining eight months of Gita'€™s tenure.

According to Sudi, the President would soon make a statement regarding Gita'€™s resignation and his replacement but Sudi did not know when Yudhoyono would do it.

Gita'€™s announcement has prompted many to pressure State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan, who is also participating in PD'€™s convention, to follow Gita'€™s lead.

The media tycoon, however, refused to resign. '€œI opt to follow my conscience. I am not resigning because I am not a presidential candidate yet. However, I salute Gita for his decision that makes him 100 percent a politician,'€ he said as quoted by kompas.com.

A lawmaker from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Hendrawan Supratikno, said that other public officials who serve as political party leaders should have resigned by now because they would be very busy ahead of the elections.

'€œMany ministers, even the President, who are party leaders, do not care about ethics. They keep dealing with their party matters,'€ he said.

Yudhoyono is PD chairman while Hatta is National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman, Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali is United Development Party (PPP) chairman, and Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar is chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB).

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto lauded Gita'€™s decision, saying, '€œIf I were on the same position, I would do the same thing.'€

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