Jakarta – After President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made headlines last week for appointing seven millennial-generation people to his team of aides, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has now grabbed public attention because of his expert staff members, albeit for a very different reason.
The 76-year-old Ma'ruf, a renowned Islamic figure, recently recruited eight people "from his generation" who are to help him in office, according to vice presidential spokesperson Masduki Baidlowi.
Ma'ruf's expert staff members mostly comprise individuals affiliated with the country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), of which he himself is a senior figure.
The members included Indonesian Ulema Council Food and Drug Analysis Agency director Lukmanul Hakim, NU chairmen Muhammad Imam Aziz and Robikin Emhas, Masduki himself – who is also an NU member – and Islamic State University professor Masykuri Abdillah.Others included legal expert Satya Arinanto, former research, technology and higher education minister Mohamad Nasir and a former member of the Agriculture Ministry's expert staff, Sukriansyah S. Latief.
Ma'ruf, who is also a non-active chairman of MUI, previously served as Rais Aam (supreme leader) of NU.
"I thought that because the President has already recruited millennials, it was only fitting that kiai [Ma'ruf] should recruit people from his era – the colonial era," Masduki said in jest on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com. "But it doesn't detract from the fact that [the appointees] are competent and skilled."
He added that, above all else, the most important aspect of an expert staff member was competence.
"Whether they're of the millennial or the colonial generation, I think they're pretty much the same," Masduki said.
He said that Jokowi did not intervene in the selection of Ma'ruf's expert staff members as the President had recognized the Vice President's prerogative right to make his own choices.
The vice presidential expert staff members had started their duties on Monday. They and Ma'ruf had agreed to convene for meetings every Sunday to discuss strategic issues, Masduki added.
Jokowi announced his 12 presidential expert staff members on Thursday, seven of whom were millennials with ages ranging from 23 to 36 years old. (rfa)