The Jakarta Post
Two days before the inauguration ceremony of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s second and final term, a get-together was held between the President and his current Cabinet members in an event that closes the curtain on a five-year administration.
Dozens of ministers and top state officials gathered at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, where they were seen interacting in a warm atmosphere, sharing laughter and smiles as they listened to Jokowi’s speech of farewells.
“We have worked together for five years and these five years have been so fast and seemed so short,” Jokowi said at the beginning of his speech.
“Time has passed by so quickly that I did not [get the opportunity] to learn much about any of you, except for Vice President [Jusuf Kalla] because we were often together.”
The President took the time to thank his aides, mentioning Kalla, ministers and heads of state institutions, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Attorney General HM Prasetyo.
Thank you: Jokowi (right) embraces Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is set to end his final term as vice president after having served in the position twice. (JP/Seto Wardhana)
He also made light-hearted remarks over how he had just learned that some of his ministers had hidden talents, such as Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy, who took to the stage to sing before Jokowi gave his speech.
"I thought [Muhadjir] would recite the Quran, but it turned out that he sang, very emotionally," he said jokingly, earning the laughter of those in attendance.
The Elek Yo Band, comprising some of Jokowi’s Cabinet ministers, including Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, also performed at the event.
Jokowi further expressed an apology to the bigwigs in attendance, noting that within the five years of his first term, Friday was the only time he had the opportunity to gather everyone together in a relaxing atmosphere since usually they met only for work meetings.
He also thanked some of his ministers, including Sri Mulyani, Retno, Basuki and State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Budi Gunawan, for putting up with him every time he “disturbed” them with midnight calls.
Jokowi apologized to Hadi and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno for stepping over them in times of emergency.
“I’ve called the SOEs directors or called the directors general without notifying [Rini] during emergencies […] because we have the responsibility to manage the 260 million people in the country,” Jokowi said.
Stand together: The President, the Vice President, First Lady Iriana and Mufidah Jusuf Kalla take a picture with Cabinet members in front of Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Sri Mulyani, who gave a speech after the President on behalf of the ministers, thanked Jokowi, Kalla and colleagues for the friendships they shared over the years.
“I feel that working together is much more fun than working alone," Sri Mulyani said.
She also expressed hope that Indonesia would be better under Jokowi’s second term. "We all support and still want to contribute in improving [Indonesia] to get closer to what Pak Jokowi’s vision is, namely to make a more prosperous and dignified country.”
Sunday’s inauguration ceremony, which will take place at the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) in Senayan, Central Jakarta, will mark the start of Jokowi’s second term in office with his vice president-to-be Ma’ruf Amin.
Through a post on his Instagram account, Jokowi said he would announce the members of his new Cabinet “immediately after the inauguration […] either on the same day or the day after”.