The Jakarta Post
The House of Representatives expects President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to announce his Cabinet structure early next week after it issues its recommendations regarding changes in the structure of the Cabinet.
The House is to issue its recommendations on Monday next week.
Leaders of the House said Jokowi could announce the structure before the legislative body issued its recommendation as sanctioned by Law No. 39/2008 on state ministries, but they stressed the move would be unethical.
'If he did not send us the letter asking for a recommendation, then it would be OK [for him] to announce [the structure]. We're talking about ethics here,' said House Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) .
Jokowi sent a letter to the House on Oct. 21, notifying the House about changes in the Cabinet structure affecting seven ministries.
In the letter, a copy of which was made available to The Jakarta Post, Jokowi plans to merge the Public Works Ministry and the Public Housing Ministry into the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, as well as the Forestry Ministry and the Environment Ministry into the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
Under Jokowi's plan, the existing Education and Culture Ministry will be split into two; the Culture and Elementary/Secondary Education Ministry and the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry. The Manpower and Transmigration Ministry and the Disadvantaged Regions Ministry will combine to form the Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministry.
In the letter, Jokowi also informed changes to the names of several ministries.
The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry will become the Tourism Ministry and the Office of the Coordinating People's Welfare Minister will become the Office of the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister.
However, the letter does not provide information regarding the government's plan on the establishment of a ministry focusing on maritime affairs, despite Jokowi's campaign pledge to develop the country's maritime sector.
After days of bickering over technicalities in discussing Jokowi's letter, the House convened a consultation on Thursday with attendance from its leadership as well as representatives from each of the 10 political party factions.
The meeting agreed to give the House speaker and deputy speakers the authority to decide the House recommendations.
On the sidelines of the meeting, House Deputy Speaker Agus Hermanto from the Democratic Party said the House leadership would soon arrange a meeting with experts to hear their opinions regarding the urgency of such ministerial changes.
'We will write to the President on Oct. 27. We just want the President to announce his Cabinet [structure] as soon as possible,' he said.
The 2008 State Ministries Law mandates the House to give its opinion to the President within seven days.
According to Article 19 of the law, the President can unilaterally announce his Cabinet structure if the House fails to present its recommendations within the time given.
Prior to reaching the agreement on Thursday, lawmakers from the two rival coalitions in the House accused each other of disrupting the government by causing a delay in announcing the Cabinet structure.
Lawmakers from the Red-and-White Coalition blamed the delay on the decision from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)-led coalition, which it said was dragging its feet in the formation of House commissions and other internal bodies.
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