JAKARTA – Indonesian President Joko Widodo reshuffled his Cabinet for the third time during his second term on Wednesday (Jun 15).
Two new ministers have been appointed. Hadi Tjahjanto has been appointed Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning, replacing Zulkifli Hasan.
Mr Hasan is the Party Amanat Nasional’s leader (PAN). He previously served as Minister of Forestry under former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from 2009 to 2014.
From December 2017 to November 2021, Mr Tjahjanto was the country’s military commander. The Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning is independent from the Ministry of Agriculture and is in charge of land reforms, among other things.
Jokowi, as the president is affectionately called, also named three new deputy ministers. They are Deputy Ministers of Home Affairs John Wempi Wetipo, Manpower Afriansyah Noor, and Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning Raja Juli Antoni.
As he announced the reshuffle, the president was flanked by leaders of the major political parties.
In response to the reshuffle, Mr Widodo stated that the new ministers were chosen based on their abilities.
“We look at their track record, and notably their managerial skills, because they have to work on both macro and micro issues,” stated the president.
Mr Widodo stated that before appointing Mr Hasan, he evaluated his experience and track record.
“Because currently, food concerns involving people necessitate field experience, fieldwork that is directly linked and tied, particularly to people’s demands,” he explained.
“In terms of exports, I believe it is also the Minister of Trade’s responsibility, but what is more essential are the basic necessities (of people) in the country, which we must address.”
After months of domestic cooking oil shortages, the government issued an export embargo on crude and refined palm oil products on April 28.
Because of the scarcity, commodities prices have skyrocketed, affecting food costs in Indonesia. On May 23, the government lifted the ban as the average price of cooking oil began to fall.
Mr Widodo also stated that he has tasked Mr Tjahjanto with resolving land disputes and land certificates as quickly as feasible.
When asked if this included concerns relating to Borneo’s new planned capital city, Mr Widodo responded, “This includes territory connected to the future capital city.”
Several times during his presidency, Indonesia’s leader has stated that he wants his government to address land ownership issues, particularly how people have illegally taken land holdings.