No need to make noise over reshuffle rumors: MPR Chairman

No need to make noise over reshuffle rumors: MPR Chairman

Zulkifli Hasan. (ANTARA/Wahdi Septiawan)

It is the prerogative of the President to reshuffle his ministers."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Chairman of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan told the people to not make noise over rumors that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had plans to reshuffle his cabinet ministers.

A reshuffle of cabinet ministers by the President is something usual as it is the prerogative of the Head of State, he said.

"It is the prerogative of the President to reshuffle his ministers. It is his right to name anyone he wants to. There should be no opinion that the reshuffle is carried out as the government is under pressure," the MPR chairman said in Sukabumi, West Java Saturday.

The President monitors the performance of all ministers, he said. If he found one in his cabinet whose performance is not good he might replace him/her with one who he thinks is appropriate with the task of improving the welfare of the people, he added.

His side would not take heed of and intervene in the cabinet reshuffle rumors, Zulkifli also said.

No one could contest the decision of the President if he replaced his ministers and appointed others, he said.

"Therefore, there is no need to make noise on the issue. The President must be willing his aides to ensure a good performance in improving the welfare of the people," said Zulkifli.

President Joko Widodo needs to conduct a cabinet reshuffle in order to realize his nine priority programs known as "Nawacita", according to economic observer Rizal E. Halim at the University of Indonesia.

"The main consideration to be used as a benchmark in the cabinet reshuffle is competence, capacity, and a real track record rather than position sharing," Halim remarked Wednesday.

A cabinet reshuffle was necessary as even after working for over a year, some of the cabinet ministers were yet to deliver a concrete performance in accordance with the Nawacita, he noted.

The substandard performance of some ministers is posing a hindrance in realizing the numerous promises made by President Jokowi, especially those associated with various development agenda outlined in the Nawacita, according to Halim.

By the end of 2015, the cabinet reshuffle became a hot public debate, but President Jokowi chose to stay mum on the issue.

Minister for State Enterprises (BUMN) Rini Mariani Soemarno is one of the ministers who could be replaced if the rumors are true.

Rumors linked to Rinis dismissal grew stronger after the Parliament Special Committee (Pansus) on state port operator Pelindo II recommended her removal.

Ironically, the ruling party the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) was stronger and even more aggressive than the opposition parties in seeking to intervene with the prerogative right of the President.

The Pansus was chaired by Rieke Diah Pitaloka, a lawmaker from the PDIP.

Rini was brief in her comment on her possible ousting from the cabinet saying "it is up to President Jokowi."

However, the minister, who was present at the BUMN synergy signing ceremony in Surabaya on December 22, 2015, expressed her discontent at Pansus for recommending her dismissal.

"I seek everyones blessings that I could always serve the people," she told several BUMN leaders, sugar farmers, and other invitees.

As for the legal case faced by R.J. Lino, Rini was similarly brief in her reply, saying "we leave it to the law."

Earlier, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had named Lino a suspect in a corruption case over the procurement of the Quay Container Crane in 2010.

Investigators of the anti-graft body had found sufficient evidence to charge Lino and name him a suspect, KPK spokesperson Yuyuk Andriati noted.

A political observer from the Lampung FISIP University Arizka Warganegara advised President Jokowi to not bow to political pressure in reaching a decision on the cabinet reshuffle.

Political motivation is evident and strong in the recommendation for a cabinet reshuffle, Arizka said.

Several political parties have shown strong interest in a cabinet reshuffle, he noted.

At the same time, he also urged the President to be firm in dealing with some of the ministers who have conducted themselves as outsiders and have undermined his authority.