By Andi Abdussalam
"It gives us new hope. The president must have evaluated the work of his ministers," House Speaker Setya Novanto said in response to the cabinet reshuffle that was conducted on Wednesday.
Novanto added that the efforts of the reshuffled ministers should be appreciated.
Chairman of the Peoples Consultative Assembly Zulkifli Hasan had the same positive response.
He said that the cabinet reshuffle conducted by President Joko Widodo will assure the market and public that the working cabinet now has the right people.
"The cabinet reshuffle will give a strong signal to the market and public that positions in the cabinet are now filled by the right people," he stated here on Wednesday.
Hasan affirmed that with the reshuffle, businesses and investors will believe that the government is strong and supported by political parties.
"Reshuffling the cabinet is the prerogative of the president, and this step will give a positive signal to the market," he reiterated.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reshuffled his working cabinet on Wednesday and installed six new ministers. They are Sofyan Djalil, Luhut Pandjaitan, Darmin Nasution, Rizal Ramli, Thomas Lembong and Pramono Anung.
Djalil replaced Andrinof Chaniago as the national development planning minister/head of the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas).
Panjaitan, a retired general and presidential chief of staff, replaced Tedjo Edhy Purdijanto as the coordinating minister of political, legal and security affairs, while Nasution, a former governor of Bank Indonesia, took up Djalils previous position of the coordinating minister of economic affairs.
Ramli, who is a former coordinating minister of economic affairs and was the minister of finance under the administration of former president Abdurrahman Wahid, replaced Indroyono Susilo as the coordinating minister of maritime affairs.
Lembong, a former official of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency, took up the position of Rachmat Gobel as the minister of trade.
Anung, a senior politician of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, replaced Andi Widjajanto as the cabinet secretary.
Furthermore, Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Agus Hermanto expressed his confidence that the cabinet reshuffle will result in improvements in various fields, particularly in the economic sector that is now facing gloomy conditions.
"It is the prerogative of the president to replace his ministers. What he did must have been based on his conviction that it will improve economic conditions," Hermanto remarked at the parliament building.
As the newly appointed coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Rizal Ramli, had been active in the economic field, he added, the policies he implements will bring about improvements to the countrys economy.
In addition, the appointment of Darmin Nasution as the coordinating minister for economic affairs also brings new hope for the economy because he, too, had been involved in the economic field for a long time.
"The president has considered his competence and believes that he can improve the countrys economic performance," Hermanto pointed out.
Moreover, General Chairman of the United Development Party Muhammad Romahurmuziy said there were two expectations from the cabinet reshuffle---ensuring improvements in the cabinets performance and creating optimism among people.
According to Romy, as Romahurmuziy is fondly called, the correct figures were placed in appropriate positions in the reshuffle. "All coordinating ministers already have academic competence, and based on their verified track records, they are market-friendly," he remarked.
According to an observer of economic and political affairs of the Labor Institute of Indonesia, Andy William Sinaga, the cabinet reshuffle gives new hope for industrialization and the stabilization of the rupiah.
"The new ministers are expected to improve the performance of the cabinet," Sinaga stated.
The new cabinet should be able to create employment opportunities as many workers have lost their jobs, he stressed.
A cut in interest rate and tax holidays, especially for labor-intensive industries, are necessary to boost investment, he suggested.
"Rizal Ramli and Darmin Nasution are expected to lead coordination in the program to accelerate and shore up the lagging economy," he added.
The reshuffle was expected, taking into account the poor performance of ministers, especially those in the economic field, according to the observer.
Therefore, President Joko Widodo ordered the newly-installed coordinating minister for economic affairs, Darmin Nasution, to expedite the process of budget spending.
After being sworn in as the chief economic minister to replace Sofyan Djalil, Nasution said that the president had specially ordered him to push for budget disbursement to ensure the acceleration of spending.
"The president also emphasized the importance of boosting investment and inflow of capital, in view of the current exchange rate issue. There must be capital coming into the country. These are the issues that need to be discussed soon," he stated.