President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo says he is open to appointing Cabinet ministers from a variety of backgrounds and ages.
“Ministers aged 20-25 years old, why not? But they must understand management and be capable of implementing [ministerial] programs,” Jokowi said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
Jokowi said ministers in the upcoming Cabinet must have the managerial skills to manage personnel and ministerial budgets in order to ensure effectiveness.
Other than that, the ministers must be capable of implementing government programs on time and properly.
Jokowi also said that he would not distinguish between professionals and political party members in his new Cabinet, unlike his first term in 2014 when he categorized ministers based on professional background and political party membership.
“Do not distinguish between professionals and politicians because there are many politicians who are also professionals,” Jokowi said.
“The important thing is that people who are experts in their fields fill the ministerial positions and understand the issues, so that it is easier to resolve [the issues] and implement the programs,” he added.
The discussion on the new Cabinet is still an ongoing process given the potential coalition that may be involved. However, Jokowi did not shut down the possibility of members of the opposition camp joining.
“We are open for everyone who would like to cooperate in advancing and building the country transparently,” he said.
A number of names have been mentioned as options for filling the ministerial seats. Last month, Jokowi suggested that the chairman of the Association of Young Indonesian Businessmen (HIPMI), Bahlil Lahadalia, was qualified.
“The way I see it, Bahlil is suitable to become a minister. He has good social skills and is very smart,” Jokowi said while attending an event held by HIPMI in Jakarta back in May.
During his first term in office, Jokowi had to make compromises with political parties in return for their support of his administration. Now, observers have said, he has more freedom to realize his vision and program, including making personal choices for his Cabinet.
Other young figures that have surfaced as potential candidates are his reelection campaign team chairman Erick Thohir and Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) chairwoman Grace Natalie.
Figures from the opposition camp, including Sandiaga Uno, the businessman-turned-politician who was losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s running mate, and Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of former president and Democratic Party patron Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have also been touted for Cabinet positions. (awa)