Entering the year 2023, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is very likely to have a Cabinet reshuffle in this January. Two sources at the government said the president would likely replace three ministers, namely Minister Of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif, Information and Communication Minister Jhonny G.Plate and Manpower Minister Ida Fauziah.
Energy minister’s poor performance
A source told Indonesia Business Post on January 3, 2023, that Jokowi’s reasons to replace the energy minister was due to Tasrif’s slow progress in developing the Minerba (Mineral resources and coal) One Map Indonesia (MODI), a geospatial application on mining activity in Indonesia managed by director general of mineral resources and coal and the delay in improvement of coal company’s work plan and budget (RKAB).
“The coal industry complained about these problems to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. It seems Tasrif will be replaced as most coal company owners are Luhut’s friend,” the source said.
The Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI) Executive Director Hendra Sinadia confirmed that he had heard from the association members that it took a long time for the energy ministry to approve coal company’s RKAB.
“We’ve heard from the members that until the end of 2022, the ministry has not yet approved the 2023 RKAB. However when I checked, the members’ RKAB have been approved. I don’t know about other coal companies outside our association,” he added.
Sinadia said some companies secured the approval earlier but others got it much later. Since 2020, the authority to approve the RKAB has been returned to the government. The government, he explained, had to handle thousands of coal company’s RKAB.
Another source in the government said that Tasrif would be replaced due to the decline in the oil and gas investment. Based on data from the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKK Migas), investment in oil and gas upstream industry until the third quarter of 2022 only reached US$ 7.7 billion from the target of US$ 13.2 billion.
Other ministers’ performances
The source revealed that Plate would be replaced because he has been implicated in a graft case worth IDR 1 trillion at his ministry.
Ketut Sumedana, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) spokesman, said the AGO has conducted a case exposure on October 25, 2022, and found sufficient evidence to support the allegations of corruption in the procurement of the Base Transceiver Station and its supporting facilities.
“Upon receiving the disclosure, the office upgraded the status of the case to one under formal investigation,” he said in a statement.
The AGO searched and confiscated several documents related to this case on November 7, 2022. These documents were from the communication ministry and a private company. The AGO has yet to examine Plate on the alleged corruption case. However, the source said that Plate might be involved. The minister, who is affiliated with the Nasdem Party, has denied of his alleged involvement in the graft case in local media.
There has been no information on why Jokowi decided to replace Fauziah, who is a member of the National Awakening Party (PKB).
A third source in the government confirmed the planned cabinet reshuffle.
“There is no clear date for the shake up,” the source said.
Currently, the government is exploring possible candidates to replace the ministers.