JAKARTA - Amid global economic uncertainty and expectations from Indonesians of better growth prospects and higher levels of governance, President Joko Widodo on Wednesday (Oct 23) announced his new Cabinet, having recruited politicians from across the aisle as well as professionals including the co-founder of ride-hailing firm Gojek.
"This is called Indonesia Forward Cabinet. Going forward, we will focus on human development, job creation and boosting opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises," Mr Joko said just days after his inauguration for a second and final five-year term in office.
In his speech, Mr Joko also sounded a warning to his new ministers: "First, do not get involved in corruption. Instead, create a system that prevents any opportunity for corruption.
"Work fast, hard and productively. Do not get trapped by a monotonous routine," he said, reminding his 38-member Cabinet that an underperforming member can be replaced at any time during his five years in office.
Mr Joko retained seasoned hands Dr Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who had served in his previous Cabinet and was also finance minister when Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was president, and Mr Luhut Pandjaitan, a former military officer.
About a third of the ministers are old faces from Mr Joko's previous government, with politicians accounting for about 40 per cent of his Cabinet.
Dr Sri Mulyani, who analysts have credited with stabilising government finances, will retain her old post as Finance Minister while Mr Luhut, Mr Joko's closest aide, will continue as Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, but with the added responsibility of overseeing investments in the country.
Mr Nadiem Makarim, Gojek co-founder, was appointed Education and Cultural Affairs Minister.
"Economy is our biggest challenge going forward," said Mr Sofjan Wanandi, who served as chief of advisers under former vice-president Jusuf Kalla. "People with strong abilities have been appointed in key positions dealing with the economy," he added.
As for Mr Joko recruiting non-partisan professionals and members from parties other than his own Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Mr Sofjan told The Straits Times this is not a problem.
"They have in the past proven they can work," he added.
Under Indonesia's presidential system, Mr Joko as the chief executive has the prerogative to appoint and replace Cabinet ministers.
Although the President has significant authority and powers as head of state and government, he can be hobbled by an active Parliament.
Analysts say he has to balance political stability with competency in selecting candidates proposed by the political parties that had backed him.
However, Mr Joko avoided filling certain strategic posts with candidates affiliated with any political party.
He interviewed about 10 ministerial candidates on Monday and more than 20 others on Tuesday at the presidential palace.
As they left, some candidates told reporters they had been offered positions.
Among them, former constitutional chief Mahfud MD. He was appointed Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, which oversees the police and the armed forces.
Former chief of Indonesian police Tito Karnavian was appointed Domestic Affairs Minister.