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Jakarta Post

House works for quick approval of Sutiyoso as new BIN chief

  • Margareth S. Aritonang and Tama Salim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 11, 2015   /  01:25 pm

As another gesture of returning a favor to a political ally, President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo has named Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI) chairman Sutiyoso a candidate to be the head to the National Intelligence Agency (BIN).

President Jokowi submitted Sutiyoso'€™s name on Tuesday to the House of Representatives for it to hold a confirmation hearing on the appointment.

House Speaker Setya Novanto confirmed on Wednesday that the President had officially informed his office about Sutiyoso'€™s nomination, but refused to comment further on the issue.

'€œThe President and I discussed the matter last night, along with another issue, namely the nomination of Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo to succeed Indonesian Military commander Gen. Moeldoko,'€ he said.

Setya, a politician from the Golkar Party, said that the House would forward Jokowi'€™s recommendation to all 10 political factions at the House so they would be able to conduct the confirmation process in due time.

Having retired from the Army as a lieutenant general, Sutiyoso served two terms as Jakarta governor and once expressed his intention to contest the presidential election in 2009.

Although Sutiyoso backed Jokowi during his presidential bid last year, the three-star general once had a bitter relationship with the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

When serving as a military commander in Jakarta, he was among those who were deemed responsible for a fatal attack on the party'€™s headquarters in 1996.

The attack, also known as the Kudatuli Incident, resulted in five deaths, leaving hundreds injured and dozens missing. Most of the victims were loyalists of PDI-P chief Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Teten Masduki, a member of the Presidential communications team, said that Jokowi considered Sutiyoso'€™s nomination carefully.

'€œIn the President'€™s record, Sutiyoso'€™s experience in military, intelligence and civilian posts will be very helpful in his new assignment as BIN chief, especially in mitigating threats to security,'€ he said in a press statement.

The chairman of House Commission I overseeing defense, Mahfudz Siddiq, expressed approval of Jokowi'€™s pick.

'€œI think [Sutiyoso] is the right person. He gets along with many people. It'€™s important for the BIN director to have such a capacity,'€ Mahfudz said on Wednesday.

Democratic Party lawmaker Ruhut Sitompul said he also approved of the President'€™s choice to nominate Sutiyoso for the top intelligence post, despite mounting criticisms about the retired Army general being too old for the job.

'€œIntelligence has no age limit. He has the right strategies and has the experience. I agree with [the appointment of] Sutiyoso,'€ Ruhut told reporters at the House of Representatives complex.

In addition to being a qualified candidate, Ruhut said there was no denying that Sutiyoso'€™s appointment was made out of respect for a figure who politically helped Jokowi attain power.

He also noted that Sutiyoso was among Jokowi'€™s allies who had yet to be '€œpolitically rewarded'€ for endorsements made during the presidential election.

Above the political motives, Ruhut still praised Sutiyoso as a good figure for the position.

'€œSutiyoso has ample experience as a leader '€” 10 years as Jakarta governor, as a former Army commander and as a member of the [Army'€™s] Special Forces [Kopassus],'€ Ruhut added.

Sutiyoso'€™s name first surfaced as a candidate to be BIN director last November. Other candidates included former BIN deputy chief As'€™ad Said Ali, current BIN deputy chief Maj. Gen. Erfi Trianussu, former Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) chief Rear Marshal (ret.) Ian Perdanakusuma and former deputy defense minister Lt. Gen. (ret) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said Sutiyoso has already mended his relationship with the PDI-P.

'€œ[Sutiyoso] has joined the PDI-P [in the presidential election]. He has been forgiven,'€ he said.

Tedjo also said that his advanced age was not a problem.

'€œSometimes senior men are better because they have experience. The younger ones may not possess the same capability,'€ said Tedjo.

'€” Dylan Amirio contributed to this story.