President Jokowi has taken decision on ministers: Minister Luhut

President Jokowi has taken decision on ministers: Minister Luhut

Luhut Binsar Panjaitan. (ANTARA/Reno Esnir)

The president said he already knew about it and would make a decision."
Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has already reached a decision regarding the performance and evaluation of the ministers in his cabinet, according to Chief Political, Legal and Security Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan.

"(The president) will likely make public his decision soon," Luhut stated aboard an Air Force aircraft on a flight to Riau Province on Wednesday.

He was urged to comment on the differences in opinion among the cabinet ministers over issues linked to the Masela Block and the evaluation of his ministers.

Luhut noted that the president had spoken to him during a flight to North Sumatra.

"We have spoken aboard the aircraft. The president said he already knew about it and would make a decision," noted Luhut.

When questioned whether the decision would concern a cabinet reshuffle, Luhut was reluctant to divulge details as he had no authority to speak on it.

"It is better if you ask the president," Luhut said.

The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs pointed out that the president had already made a decision.

He explained that the differences in opinion between the ministers, which were known to the public, was something normal. However, he stressed that the different opinions harbored by the ministers should not be a matter of serious concern.

Luhut noted that the differences in opinion among ministers could serve as inputs for the president. He acknowledged that shortcomings still existed in the governments functioning with regard to coordination.

"Oh yes, there could be shortcomings in the governments coordination, but there is no major problem," he noted.

It was reported over the weekend that President Widodo will take the right decision regarding the development of Masela Block in Arafura Sea, Maluku Province.

"The parties involved should not issue rhetorical statements and indulge in intractable debates regarding the development of Masela Block," Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman stated last Saturday.

Said remarked that the president will adopt a policy that will be beneficial to the people of Maluku and others.

"The issue of development of the Masela Block is being discussed by the government," the minister emphasized.

The ministry has analyzed the possibility of expansion, particularly in southern Maluku, as part of the efforts to boost the economic growth in the region.

"We have presented two scenarios regarding Maselas development to the president. The report included the impact on regional development in southern Maluku and the necessity for investment," the minister stated.

With regard to the readiness of the local government and its people, the minister said he continued to maintain constant communication with the government of Maluku.

"The Maluku governor supports any decision and policies of the president. The governor has expressed his readiness to disseminate information regarding the development of the project," the minister affirmed.

The decision on the development of the Masela block will be made by the president in view of its investment value and impact.

Meanwhile, according to regulations, the development of oil and gas blocks can be decided by the minister.

The president will decide on whether to build an offshore or onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) refinery.

Both the schemes have their pros and cons.

The Masela Block is being developed by Inpex Corporation, the main shareholder in Masela Blocks management.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli had stated that the government had decided to develop an onshore LNG refinery for processing gas from the Masela Block in Maluku.

"The decision was taken after a thorough and careful study of the inputs from various parties. Matters regarding its multiplier effects and the need to accelerate economic development in Maluku, in particular, and the eastern Indonesian region, in general, were among the factors that had led to this decision," he noted in a written statement.

Ramli noted that the decision was in line with President Widodos directives to maintain consistency in the implementation of the constitution, which states that natural resources must be used for the benefit of the people.

The head of state has often reiterated that exploitation of the gas field in Masela must not only be carried out for earning foreign exchange but must also be used as an engine to accelerate economic development in Maluku and the eastern Indonesian region, he emphasized.

"This is why the president is keen that the refinery should be developed onshore. He has paid significant attention to its benefits and multiplier effects, which are much bigger than if the refinery is built offshore," he added.