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Jakarta Post

SBY names Moeldoko new Army chief

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 21, 2013   /  11:53 am

President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono appointed on Monday Lt. Gen. Moeldoko as the new Army chief of staff to replace Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, who reaches the mandatory retirement age this month.

Moeldoko, who was Pramono'€™s deputy, will be inaugurated in a ceremony on Wednesday.

'€œI have told the new Army chief of staff to improve the professionalism of the Indonesian Army and bring it closer to the people,'€ Yudhoyono told a press conference at the Presidential Office on Monday.

In his first public statement as Army chief of staff, Moeldoko said his goal was to maintain existing programs devised by his predecessor.

Moeldoko said he would use the legal approach in handling members of the Army involved in violence.

He also pledged to conduct a review to find out if the spike of violence involving enlisted men had something to do with military education.

'€œI will soon conduct a review to find if there'€™s a poor process of education. We will evaluate it in the future,'€ said Moeldoko.

Prior to serving as Army deputy chief of staff, Moeldoko was the deputy governor of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) from in August 2011. He was promoted to become the Army deputy chief of staff on Jan. 23 this year.

Between October 2010 and August 2011, Moeldoko served as the commander of the Siliwangi Regional Command.

In March 2011, his unit was allegedly involved in assisting the West Java administration in carrying out '€œOperasi Sajadah'€ (Prayer Mat Operation) to return the Ahmadis '€” who have been deemed heretical '€” to the '€œright path'€ of Islam following an attack on Ahmadis in Cikeusik in February 2011.

West Java'€™s Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation (JAI) cried foul over intimidation by soldiers during the operation.

Moeldoko has denied the allegation, saying there was neither intimidation nor an operation but a communication campaign.

Moeldoko has also been tapped as the strongest candidate to replace Adm. Agus Suhartono as the military commander.

Agus is expected to retire in August.

Outgoing Army chief of staff Pramono said he could not confirm the speculation.

'€œAsk the President instead. It may be yes or no as the rule is that a military commander must be from one of the three forces. So the Army, Navy and Air Force have the same rights. The President has the prerogative to make the final decision,'€ he said.

According to the 2004 law on the military, the TNI chief post may be rotated between the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs.

Agus is a Navy officer, while his predecessor, (ret) Gen. Djoko Santoso, was from the Army.