Sat, 11 Jul 2015

Amid speculation that a Cabinet reshuffle is imminent, a public opinion poll has revealed that ministers handling law and the economy received the lowest approval ratings as the public is worried about the country’s slumping economy and law enforcement.

The survey, released on Thursday by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC), shows that the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister scored the lowest approval rating, with only 9.9 percent of respondents saying that they were satisfied with its performance.

The Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister performed slightly better with a 10.2 percent approval rating, the SMRC found.

The survey found that the public in general believed President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had performed badly in three areas: economy, politics and law enforcement.

Some 31.5 percent of respondents believed that the economy had worsened since Jokowi took office in October last year, while 37.5 percent believed that the political situation had deteriorated under Jokowi’s watch. Likewise, 37.8 percent of respondents believed that law enforcement had suffered a setback during the period measured in the survey.

The survey questioned 1,220 respondents in all of the country’s 34 provinces from May to June 2015, with a random sampling method and a 2.9 percent margin of error.

The best-performing coordinating ministries were the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, with a 25.2 percent approval rating, followed by the Office of the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister with 14.4 percent.

The survey also measured the approval rating of individual ministries and found that the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, helmed by Susi Pudjiastuti, was the best-performing ministry with 27 percent of respondents giving a thumbs-up.

Susi’s persistent popularity has been largely attributed to her popular decision to crack down on illegal fishing activities by foreign fishermen.

“The second-best performing ministry is the Religious Affairs Ministry with 8 percent, followed by the Health Ministry with 4.6 percent, Social Affairs Ministry with 4.6 percent and the Agriculture Ministry with 4.2 percent,” SMRC executive director Djayadi Hanan said.

The other 22 ministries failed to register an approval rating as they scored less than 1 percent.

“It’s another way of saying that the public doesn’t know what the Cabinet is doing,” Djayadi said.

University of Indonesia political expert Salim Said, meanwhile, said that some of the underperforming ministers had been too busy focusing on public relations campaigns, including Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi.

“A minister who is supposed to be managing bureaucracy is going to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport instead to handle a fire. That’s not his business,” Salim said on Thursday.

Yuddy visited the international airport last Sunday to monitor services at Soekarno-Hatta following a fire that broke out in a VIP lounge at Terminal 2E of the airport in Tangerang, Banten.

Jokowi has indicated that he is likely to reshuffle his Cabinet soon as a result of worsening economic conditions.

The President has expressed his disappointment with his economic ministers’ performances, especially after slowing economic growth in the first semester.

Speculation over a Cabinet reshuffle was also rife after Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo revealed there was a minister who liked to belittle the President behind his back. However, Tjahjo, a member of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), declined to mention the person by name.

The PDI-P itself has proposed senior politician Tubagus Hasanuddin and former lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari as candidates for defense minister and administrative and bureaucratic reform minister, respectively, in the event of Jokowi deciding to shake up his Cabinet.

Eva said it was important for Jokowi to carry out a reshuffle to regain the public’s trust following a decline in approval.

She suggested that Jokowi choose people who would stand up for him, instead of belittling him behind his back.

“If I were him, I would choose someone who is loyal. Loyalty is number one,” she said.