SBY Holds Talks Ahead of Possible Reshuffle

The Jakarta Globe

Arientha Primanita, Agus Triyono, Elisabeth Oktofani

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono summoned Vice President Boediono and several of his ministers to his home in Cikeas, Bogor, on Thursday as talk of a cabinet reshuffle intensifies.

“President SBY and Vice President Boediono are conducting marathon, intensive and private talks” throughout the week, said Daniel Sparringa, a member of the presidential special staff. “The president doesn’t want this to become a political discussion. We’re not trying to cover anything up, we just want to avoid any unnecessary controversies.”

Boediono arrived at the president’s private residence at 4 p.m. on Thursday. He was joined by State Secretary Sudi Silalahi and Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam.

Julian Aldrin Pasha, a presidential spokesman, declined to offer details about Thursday’s meeting. All he would say is that “the president wishes to discuss the future of his administration.”

Yudhoyono has previously hinted that a reshuffle could coincide with the second anniversary of the cabinet’s formation later this month.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Presidential Working Unit for Development, Supervision and Oversight (UKP4), said on Thursday that an evaluation of the ministries and government agencies would be forwarded to the president next week.

He said the final report was still being completed, but the results might influence any cabinet reshuffle.

Bambang Adhyaksa, from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), told a discussion on Thursday that 80 percent of the cabinet needed to be replaced.

“The ministers have neither the vision nor the capability to run the country,” Bambang said.

He said Kadin had recently met with ministers to discuss the economy. “A clear example of their incompetence is that they didn’t follow up on the recommendations of the meeting,” he said.

The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) said Yudhoyono must remove ministers who had committed human rights violations.

LBH Jakarta has named 14 such ministers and agency heads. They include Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, who it said had failed to protect religious minorities, and Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring, whom the foundation criticized for curbing freedom of expression by enforcing the controversial Electronic Transactions and Information (ITE) Law.

Other ministers seen as ripe for removal include Manpower Minister Muhaimin Iskandar, criticized for his soft stance on labor and migrant worker issues, and Justice Minister Patrialis Akbar, who is said to have made little progress on human rights.

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