KATADATA - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked ministers or officials at the same level as ministers, as well as the rest of the government’s officials, so that they do not create any polemics against the government’s decisions; especially the ones that are related with Presidential Regulations (Perpres) that Jokowi issued.
“He [President Jokowi] emphasizes to all of us that what has been decided by the President must not be questioned and becomes a polemic,” said Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung after a plenary cabinet meeting in the Presidential Office, Jakarta, Monday afternoon (2/11), as quoted in Cabinet Secretary’s official website.
According to Pramono, all ministers or officials at the same level as ministers have been given a freedom to express their opinions and perspectives; but it is only before the President makes his decision. The decision can be in the forms of Presidential Decree (Keppres), Presidential Instruction (Inpres), Presidential Regulation (Perpres), and et cetera. After the President decided it, then all ministers or officials at the same level as ministers, as well as officials under all ministers, must agree with the decision and do it.
“We give space for diversity, but when it has become a Perpres, Inpres, or Kepres, then all is asked to agree with it and do it,” Pramono said.
So, President Jokowi emphasizes to all of his ministers so that they will no longer question the decisions or use any subordinate officials as well as political elements to question the President’s decision. This emphasis was being said to the ministers because polemics between ministers or officials at the same level as ministers against the rules that the President has issued is not good for democracy. “And that’s why the President emphasizing on that matter,” Pramono added.
However, this politician of PDI Perjuangan Faction did not mention which Presidential decisions that are being questioned and create polemic among the ministers and officials. Based on Katadata’s record, one of the Perpres that has been questioned is Perpres No. 107 Year 2015. Perpres that was being issued on October 6th 2015 is about the acceleration of fast train development between Jakarta and Bandung. Other than to give the development assignment to PT Wijaya Karya Tbk to lead the consortium of regional-owned enterprises to handle the megaproject worth IDR 77 trillion and to cooperate with investors from China, President Jokowi had also assigned 13 ministers, state officials, and regents to help with the development.
At first, the development of the fast train between Jakarta and Bandung was being questioned and has become a polemic for a long time (from the perspective of strategic value and cooperation). Japan and China had also competed for the megaproject before. And finally, the government chose China because there is no business-to-business scheme with the state-owned enterprises. The decision is supported by Perpres No. 107 Year 2015.
Expert Staff of State-owned Enterprises (SOE) Ministry Sahala Lumban Gaol said that the development of the fast train Jakarta-Bandung will start on November 9. The launching of the megaproject is located in the Walini region, West Java, which will be one of the stations for the fast train.
But then until now, the preparation for the project is still running slow. Suradi, the corporate secretary for PT Wijaya Karya Tbk, said that his side is still waiting for license from Transportation Ministry. If the license issuance exceeds November 15, then the launching of the project will also be delayed.
However, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan had given several requirements first in order for the fast train project can pass the standard. One of the requirements is the stations must not exceed four stations. And so, the fast train can run above 200 kilometers per hour. But, the government had once suggested the plan to use six to eight stations to build the economy in the areas that the fast train will pass through. “It’s four stations max, is this a fast train project or a property,” Jonan said, as quoted from liputan6.com, last October 16.
But in Article 9 Paragraph 2 of the Perpres, there are five duties of Trade Minister: to set the SOE consortium or joint corporations to handle the fast train project, to set the Jakarta-Walini-Bandung route and inked the deal for the fast train development. After that, to give the business license, building license, as well as operational license for the development of the project and to supervise the technical things during the development.
Meanwhile, the polemic of decisions between the ministers also occurs. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti had once question about the Trade Ministerial Regulation No. 87/2015 about a certain import product. The law also covers certain fisheries products that can be imported. Susi saw that the law that allow import of fishes like the tunas and cakalang will make the small fishermen to suffer.
Furthermore, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli often debates with Energy and Mineral Resources (EMR) Minister Sudirman Said. The latest case regarding both of the ministers are about the contract renewal rumor of PT Freeport Indonesia, which will only expire in 2021. Rizal criticized the way EMR Ministry changes the rules to extend mining contracts. With mining reserves to only last for 30 to 40 years, the EMR Ministry should not be in a hurry to take decision to extend Freeport’s contract. And this is even truer since in the next five to ten years, there will be many mining contracts that will be expired.
“I am really disappointed with such officials. Due to appease various importance, he pushed it to speed up Freeport’s contract negotiation, and et cetera,” said Rizal, last October 7.
But, Sudirman denied the rumor that the government had agreed to extend Freeport’s contract. The right thing to say is the government had sent a letter to the management of Freeport McMoRan, which consists of the government’s commitment to guarantee the long-term investment of the US-based mining company in Indonesia. “All sides that don’t understand, please stop speculating about contract renewal, because it [the rumor] is not true at all,” Sudirman explained.