Jokowi faces tough choice over Arcandra – With his knowledge and vast experience in the global oil and gas sector, Arcandra Tahar may be the right person to lead the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.
But reappointing him as the energy minister could undermine President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration.
Speculation is rife that Arcandra will get his ministerial job back after the government announced that Arcandra had regained his Indonesian citizenship as he had automatically renounced his US citizenship when he joined Jokowi’s Cabinet.
The President said he would summon Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, or maybe Arcandra himself, to get the details of the process of restoring Arcandra’s citizenship on Friday morning, sparking speculation Arcandra would be reappointed as energy and mineral resources minister, along with the inauguration of Budi Gunawan as the nation’s spy chief.
However, as of Friday afternoon, the plan had yet to materialize as Yasonna said there had been no discussion with Jokowi that day regarding issues surrounding Arcandra, who was removed from his position in early August after only 20 days in office following the revelation that he held US citizenship.
Yasonna later declined to comment on whether Arcandra’s reinstated Indonesian citizenship might lead to the possibility of him being reappointed as a minister. “We know nothing about it,” said Yasonna, who claimed that the only report his office made to the President was by letter. “We deal [only] with the citizenship issue.”
The possible reappointment of Arcandra has received mixed responses from politicians. The two largest pro-government political factions in the House, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Golkar Party, have pledged to support Jokowi if he decides to reinstate Arcandra.
Golkar chairman Setya Novanto has even assigned senior Golkar politician Bambang Soesatyo to work on securing House approval for the purported plan.
Analysts, however, warn that reappointing Arcandra could be politically costly for Jokowi.
Political communications expert Gun Gun Heryanto said it was better for Jokowi not to reappoint Arcandra as energy minister as it could cause a public backlash that would hinder the Cabinet’s performance and might undermine synergy between the ministers.
“Remember when Jokowi said in his speech [in July] announcing the second Cabinet reshuffle [...] that the reshuffle was done to introduce a more productive and solid Cabinet that could work faster,” Gun Gun said. “They cannot work effectively if they are busy dealing with new controversies.”
Many believe the concern revolving around Arcandra is more than simply about his US citizenship status when he took the job as a minister in Jokowi’s Cabinet, but rather the legality of his use of an Indonesian passport.
The government’s move to restore his Indonesian citizenship has also sparked controversy. “All citizens should bow to existing law regardless of their skills,” said constitutional law expert Feri, who argued that giving Arcandra his Indonesian citizenship back was “ridiculous and unconstitutional”.
Under the law, he said, a person who lost his Indonesian citizenship could get it back if he or she lived in Indonesia for five consecutive years before applying for new Indonesian citizenship.
“Is there any reason that can justify him [Arcandra] violating the law?” asked Feri, adding that “There is a possibility that his policies will be questioned and challenged [as a result of his questionable citizenship status].”
Feri urged Jokowi to immediately appoint someone with no potential conflict of interest as the new energy minister.***
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Editing: T. Bintang
source: Thejakartapost

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