President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has planned to shake up his cabinet after his political ally Nasdem Party officially declared its support for former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan as a presidential candidate. Sources within the Jokowi administration told Indonesia Business Post that the president would likely kick Jhonny G. Plate, minister of communication and information and secretary general of Nasdem Party, from his post.
“Jokowi was disappointed with [Nasdem Party chairman] Surya Paloh’s decision to endorse Anies Baswedan as a presidential candidate since Anies is considered a political opponent. Jokowi’s disappointment will be conducted by expelling Johnny G. Plate from his position as communication minister in the upcoming cabinet shake-up,” the source said on November 9, 2022.
However, Jokowi will make up his reasons to remove Plate. Firstly, the president had asked Plate to postpone the analogue switch-off (ASO) program (Conversion from analog TV to digital TV) until the fund for digital set-top boxes (STBs) for low-income households is ready. However, Plate insisted to continue the program that caused public outrage. Secondly, Plate has been implicated in a trillion rupiah graft case regarding the procurement of a Base Transceiver Station (BTS) in remote areas in Riau province, according to another source.
Consequently, Jokowi will use these reasons to kick Plate from the cabinet and punish the Nasdem Party as well. “Jokowi has ‘allowed’ his supporters and followers to attack Plate in public. A cabinet reshuffle may take place after the G20 summit,” the source added.
Even so, the source believes it is possible that Jokowi will have a second thought of cabinet reshuffle as he is carefully considering the impact on national stability. The source said several influential political figures, such as the Cendana family (family of former authoritarian Soeharto), have thrown their weight behind Paloh, Anies and the Nasdem Party.
“They have the financial and political resources to make other ministers resign and Jokowi will fall as a result,” the source added.
A source at the Nasdem Party said that the party has yet to detect any signal on cabinet reshuffle. That is the reason why Paloh has not given a green light to party officials to talk about it publicly, he said.
Nasdem politician and House of Representatives (DPR) member Irma Chaniago said that the cabinet reshuffle was “the president’s prerogative as he is the one who understands better his needs in running the government. Nasdem Party remains committed to support the government until 2024.”