JAKARTA: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday (Apr 28), after parliament approved his plan to reorganise several agencies while creating a new investment ministry.
This was his second Cabinet reshuffle in just over four months.
Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, announced that Mr Bahlil Lahadalia will head the newly created Investment Ministry. Mr Lahadalia is the current head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). He will continue to lead the coordinating board concurrently.
Mr Lahadalia said that unlike the BKPM which is primarily responsible for attracting foreign investors, the new ministry will coordinate both foreign and domestic investments as well as improve investment climate at the central, provincial and district levels of government.
“The president also instructed us to not only focus on (investments) of big businesses but also SMEs. We must establish connections between big businesses and SMEs, the national level players and those in the regions,” Mr Lahadalia said at a press conference after the swearing-in ceremony.
“Our task is to not only boost the economy but ensure economic development is distributed equally."
The president also expanded the duties of Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim, combining the education and culture ministry with the research and technology ministry. Mr Makarim, the founder of GoJek, was officially named as Minister for Education, Culture, Research and Technology.
“Research and technology are something which is very close to my heart,” Mr Makarim said at the same press conference, adding that the merger of the ministries will benefit universities in Indonesia that previously had to deal with separate ministries on issues of education and research.
“I have big hopes (that the new ministry) can truly increase the quality of research and innovation at our universities.”
The now-defunct research and technology ministry was previously headed by Bambang Brodjonegoro, who would no longer serve in the Cabinet.
Mr Widodo also formed the National Research and Innovation Agency and appointed Mr Laksana Tri Handoko as its new chief. Mr Handoko, a theoretical physicist, is the current head of the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI).
Mr Handoko said his agency will focus on becoming a “coordinator, facilitator and enabler” of research and innovation at various government institutions and private firms and laboratories.
“We will be working very closely with the Education, Culture, Research and Technology ministry,” he said.
Indonesia’s last Cabinet reshuffle was on Dec 22 after Mr Widodo stated that some of the ministers had not done enough to fight COVID-19 and were working as though things were normal.
He appointed Mr Budi Gunadi Sadikin as the new health minister amid public criticism that Mr Terawan Agus Putranto had failed to handle the pandemic.
The president had also appointed a new social affairs minister and a new fisheries minister, after both were embroiled in corruption cases.
In December, Mr Widodo also reshuffled the portfolios for trade, tourism and religious affairs.