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Jakarta Post

Arcandra looks certain to get his job back

  • Margareth S. Aritonang and Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, September 9, 2016   /  07:08 am
Arcandra looks certain to get his job back Second chance: Former energy and mineral resources Arcandra Tahar speaks in a seminar on national energy security on Thursday. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

As aides to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo work out the kinks in the process of reinstating Arcandra Tahar’s citizenship, the President faces one more challenge before he is able to reappoint Arcandra as energy and mineral resources minister: getting political factions at the House of Representatives to support his decision.

A number of politicians have expressed their reservations about Jokowi’s purported plan to reappoint Arcandra as energy and mineral resources minister.

Arcandra was removed from his position in early August after only 20 days in office following the revelation that he held US citizenship.

Spokesman for the Democratic Party faction at the House Didi Irawadi Syamsudin slammed any efforts to reinstate Arcandra as minister. “There are a lot of competent people in the country. The President could just pick one of them instead of reappointing him.”

A number of politicians from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) have also expressed their opposition toward Jokowi’s move to reappoint Arcandra.

PDI-P lawmaker Dwi Ria Latifa said that even if Arcandra’s Indonesian citizenship was reinstated, his reappointment as a minister should face more scrutiny.

“It’s inappropriate for Pak Jokowi to do so. Do we lack qualified individuals who deserve the [ministerial] position?” Dwi said. “As a citizen, I am ashamed. This country, which has a huge population, was caught by surprise when a minister was dismissed only due to a paperwork mishap.”

In spite of the opposition, Jokowi is likely to succeed if he decides to reinstall Arcandra as energy and mineral resources minister.

The two largest political factions in the House, the PDI-P and Golkar Party factions, have pledged to support Jokowi if he decides to reinstate Arcandra.

Senior PDI-P politician Trimedya Panjaitan, who is also the deputy chairman of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs said his political faction would approve the decision.

“Appointing a minister is the President’s prerogative. If President Jokowi wants to appoint him as energy minister or some other position, it is his prerogative. He now has legal status [as an Indonesian citizen],” Trimedya said as quoted by Antara.

Meanwhile, Golkar chairman Setya Novanto said the President would get the support he needed if he decided to reinstate Arcandra.

Setya has assigned senior Golkar politician Bambang Soesatyo to work on securing House approval for the purported plan.

“He [Arcandra] clearly has skills that the country needs in order to successfully carry out the government’s programs in the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos, President Jokowi said he was yet to be briefed on the process of restoring Arcandra’s citizenship.

“I have not yet been briefed regarding the way in which he will get his citizenship back. I will summon him once I get back to Jakarta,” Jokowi told reporters.

Separately, Vice President Jusuf Kalla congratulated Arcandra on getting his Indonesian citizenship back.

“Congratulations to him. He is without doubt an Indonesian through and through,” Kalla said as quoted by Antara.

When asked about the prospect of Arcandra getting his ministerial position back, Kalla said: “It’s the President’s prerogative so let the President answer your question, not me.”

Jokowi is reportedly adamant about putting Arcandra back in his position as energy minister due to his knowledge and expertise in the oil and gas sector. (win)

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