The recent corruption cases involving the previous two ministers, (the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) left the mentioned positions vacant. This forced President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to find replacements as the country’s covid-19 cases reached a critical point. Addition to the cabinet’s underperformance, it proved to be a decisive time to conduct a cabinet reshuffle.
The president announced six new ministers in a cabinet reshuffle last Tuesday (22/12) among which was his former opponent in the presidential race last year, Sandiaga S. Uno, entered as the minister of tourism and creative economy replacing Wishnutama Kusubandio.
The remaining five are:
Tri Rismaharini as the Minister of Social Affairs to fill the vacant position
Budiman Gunadi Sadikin as the Minister of Health replacing Terawan Agus Putranto
Yaqut Cholil Quomas as the Minister of Religious Affairs replacing Fachrul Razi
Wahyu Sakti Trenggono as the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to fill the vacant position
Muhammad Lutfi as the Minister of Commerce replacing Agus Suparmanto
Sandiaga S. Uno was the former vice governor of Jakarta and the former vice-presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election. Beyond his political record, he was the head of Association of Young Businessmen (HIPMI) with 30,000 members in the period of 2005-2008. The minister of social affairs, Tri Rismaharani, was also the mayor of Surabaya at the same time. She has always served the public almost all of her life in Surabaya and now she’s upstaging her role in the capital. She was nominated as one of the best city mayors in the world by The City Mayors Foundation.
The bizarre background falls under the minister of health, Budiman Gunadi Sadikin, who was a former banker with a degree in nuclear physics. However, he’s not new to the cabinet. He was the vice minister of state-owned enterprises and still acts as the current head of the National Economic Recovery Task Force. Back in June, Jokowi criticized the Health Ministry for its low spending in the health sector during the country’s ongoing struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19. Former minister Terawan Agus Putranto has been involved in numerous controversies since the start of the pandemic and has been criticized by the public for his lack of communication skills.
The rise of Islamic radicalization in the country forced Jokowi to choose a fighter as a minister of religious affairs. Despite the previous minister being a military general, he proved no match for hard lined Islamists. Yaqut Cholil Quomas has always been a fighter as the head of GP Ansor, NU’s youth wing. He’s responsible for the mobilization of his members to defend other religion’s holy site during prayer from Islamists attack and was behind the burning of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag in 2018. He was also a member of the House of Representatives in 2009-2014.
Wahyu Sakti Trenggono, the new minister of maritime affairs and fisheries is a successful businessman and the former treasury of the National Campaign Team of Jokowi-Ma’aruf 2019. He is also the commissioner of Indonesia’s leading telecommunications tower operator, Bersama Infrastruktur. They currently own more than 14,000 towers all over the country.
The minister of commerce welcomes back Muhammad Lutfi as he used to lead the ministry in the period of February 2014 – October 2014. Before that, he was the head of the Investment Coordinating Board of Indonesia (BKPM). He was also 36 at that time and was the youngest to ever serve the role. He was also the ambassador of Indonesia to the United States of America from 14 September 2020 until he has now been appointed the new minister of commerce.