The Jakarta Post
The government has named social media influencer Kristia Budiyarto an independent commissioner for state-owned ferry operator PT Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia (Pelni), marking yet another avid supporter of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo being appointed to a position in a state-owned enterprise (SOE).
SOE Minister Erick Thohir appointed Kristia, who is known for routinely promoting Jokowi's programs and countering criticisms against the government through his Twitter account @kangdede78, during a virtual meeting on Monday.
Kristia was also one of the social media team coordinators for Jokowi and now Vice President Ma'ruf Amin during his 2019 reelection campaign. As of Tuesday, Kristia's Twitter account has more than 99,000 followers.
“Thank you to all for the good prayers regarding the trust and responsibility given to me,” Kristia tweeted on Monday in response to his appointment.
He refused The Jakarta Post’s request for further comment.
Kristia replaced former PT Pelni independent commissioner Widodo Hario Mumpuni. At Monday's meeting, the minister also named former functionary of the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP) Iwan Taufiq Purwanto as a new commissioner, replacing Marwanto Harjowiryono.
“The management hopes that the two new commissioners at Pelni can support and succeed the company's vision and mission while also being able to develop its business potential,” Pelni corporate secretary head Yahya Kuncoro said Monday.
Kristia's appointment was the latest on a list of Jokowi's supporters being given seats within state corporations. At least eight people who backed the incumbent during his past campaigns now serve as commissioners in a number of SOEs, according to media reports.
Last month, social media influencer and volunteer in Jokowi's 2014 and 2019 presidential campaigns, Ulin Niam Yusron, was appointed as a commissioner of the state-owned Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Another notable example was Fadjroel Rachman, a long-time supporter of Jokowi, who was appointed president commissioner of state-owned construction engineering company PT Adhi Karya following Jokowi's win in the 2014 election. Jokowi appointed Fadjroel as a presidential spokesperson after winning reelection last year.
Amid a wave of criticisms surrounding the appointment, Handoko, the secretary-general of Projo -- a volunteer group supporting Jokowi’s campaign in the 2014 and 2019 elections -- said the government needed more independent commissioners in SOEs.
He added that Jokowi supporters had the necessary competence to fill positions in state-owned companies.
Criticisms against the appointment have come from politicians and the public alike, including from Gerindra party deputy chairman and former People’s Representative Council deputy speaker Fadli Zon.
“So who else hasn't been made a BUMN commissioner?” Fadli tweeted satirically Tuesday on his verified account @fadlizon. Fadli had also criticized Projo's statement previously, suggesting that SOE should be renamed as “volunteer-owned enterprise”.
Social media users have also criticized the string of appointments. “The public must work extra hard amid this economic recession to sustain the SOEs, which are filled by volunteers and buzzers,” Twitter user @EnggalPMT posted on Monday.