Revamped and upgraded, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono unveiled his second United Indonesia Cabinet, which he insisted was based on a “rational and objective” selection process.
The much-anticipated announcement late Wednesday night at the State Palace held few surprises.
Most of the 37 names – 34 ministers and three state officials of Cabinet rank – announced were predicted earlier.
Ten ministers from the previous Cabinet were re-named, albeit with different portfolios.
The only major surprise was the selection of Endang Rahayu Sedya-ningsih as health minister, apparently replacing the frontrunner for the job, Nila Juwita Anfasha Moeloek.
The latter, according to media reports earlier in the day, failed her checkup, which was one of the prerequisites set by the President in his screening process.
Nila’s aide told journalists the frontrunner was heartbroken at being passed over, while her house was already receiving premature congratulatory bouquets.
Before a national audience, the President kept up the suspense nonetheless with a near 10-mi-
nute defensive spiel on the Cabinet selection.
“There were a lot of people who wanted to meet me. With all due respect, I told them it was best not to meet yet,” Yudhoyono said.
“The system is working,” the President remarked, adding that he and Vice President Boediono had been working diligently over the past 10 days to make the most “rational and objective” selection.
“It was not done recklessly,” he ensured.
In an apparent pre-emptive strike against his critics, Yudhoyono said disapproval of the selection was common, as in previous Cabinet announcements.
“If there are voices [of disapproval] out there, then it's all part of democracy,” he said, while stressing that he had completed the
Cabinet selection process in accordance with stipulations in the law requiring a government be formed within 14 days of the presidential inauguration.
In a Cabinet half-filled with politicians, members of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) were conspicuously, but not unexpectedly, absent.
PDI-P central board member Effendi Simbolon, said his party was not disappointed.
"We never even thought we would be included, especially looking at the way SBY [Yudhoyono] engaged in political communication with us," he told The Jakarta Post.
"SBY always communicated with us through Hatta Radjasa. So, it was only natural for us to not be too hopeful," he added.
Meanwhile, Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin said the organization “did not ask and was not asked by the President to nominate its figures for the Cabinet”.
“The Cabinet lineup is the President’s prerogative,” he said when asked to respond as to why neither Muhammadiyah nor Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s two biggest Muslims organizations, were notably represented, as they traditionally are.
Din said he had “no problem” with the exclusion but questioned Yudhoyono’s “statesmanship” in failing to involve major Muslim groups, such as Muhammadiyah and NU, in various development projects.
“Yudhoyono should develop a genuine strategic partnership with civil society organizations and stop promoting superficial communications,” Din told the Post.
Separately, Reform Institute executive director Yudi Latif said the announcement confirmed Yudhoyono’s selection was based on political accommodation rather than capability in order to control his political coalition.
"That’s why he gave posts to party members who have a strong political grip on their respective parties, rather than the most capable and professional among them," he told the Post.
"I also believe his goal to have a successful first 100-day program is nonsense. Around 40 percent of the ministers are placed in posts that have nothing to do with their backgrounds. These ministers will surely need time to learn about the issues and problems in their respective posts," he added.
The President in his speech also said he would assign deputies to ministers in several Cabinet portfolios. The appointments would be announced at a later date.
The President also said that for now there would be no change in three other ranking positions in the government: The Attorney General, the Indonesian Military Chief and the National Police Chief.
The United Indonesia Cabinet 2009-2014
1. Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs : Djoko Suyanto
2. Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare : Agung Laksono
3. Coordinating Minister for the Economy : M. Hatta Radjasa
• Home Minister : Gamawan Fauzi
• Foreign Minister : R. M. Marty Muliana Natalegawa
• Defense Minister : Purnomo Yusgiantoro
• Justice and Human Rights Minister : Patrialis Akbar
• Finance Minister : Sri Mulyani
• Energy and Mineral Resources Minister : Darwin Z. Saleh
• Industry Minister :M. S. Hidayat
• Trade Minister : Mari Elka Pangestu
• Agriculture Minister : Suswono
• Forestry Minister : Zulkifli Hasan
• Transportation Minister : Freddy Numberi
• Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister : Fadel Muhammad
• Manpower and Transmigration Minister : Muhaimin Iskandar
• Public Works Minister : Djoko Kirmanto
• Health Minister : Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih
• Education Minister : Mohammad Nuh
• Social Affairs Minister : Salim Segaf Al Jufri
• Religious Affairs Minister : Suryadharma Ali
• Minister of Culture and Tourism : Jero Wacik
• Minister of Communication and Information : Tifatul Sembiring
• State Secretary : Sudi Silalahi
• State Minister Research and Technology : Suharna Surapranata
• State Minister for Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises : Syarifuddin Hasan
• State Minister for the Environment :Gusti M. Hatta
• State Minister for Women’s Empowerment : Linda A. Gumelar
• State Minister for Administrative Reforms : E. E. Mangindaan
• State Minister for Disadvantaged Regions : Ahmad Helmi Faisal Zaini
• State Minister for National Development Planning/National Development Planning Board chairman : Armida Alisjahbana
• State Minister for State Enterprises : Mustafa Abubakar
• State Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs : Andi Mallarangeng
• State Minister for Public Housing : Suharso Manoarfa
• Head of State Intelligence Agency : Sutanto
• Head of Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) : Gita Irawan Wirjawan
• Presidential Unit for the Management of Reform Programs (UKP3R) : Kuntoro Mangkusubroto