Dio Suhenda, Jakarta – Ending months of speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Monday appointed Budi Arie Setiadi, who heads one of Jokowi's most prominent supporter groups, ProJo, as the new communications and information minister.
Budi, formerly the deputy villages, disadvantaged regions and transmigration minister, was officiated into his new position in the Cabinet on Monday at the State Palace, replacing former minister Johnny G. Plate of NasDem Party who was removed from the Cabinet in May after he was named a graft suspect.
Johnny is currently standing trial for his alleged involvement in the graft-ridden 4G telephony project, which is thought to have cost the state some Rp 8.1 trillion in losses. The NasDem politician is accused of pocketing Rp 17.8 billion in kickbacks.
Budi, on the other hand, has been one of Jokowi's closest allies since he formed the ProJo supporter group in October 2013. ProJo has since been pivotal in both of Jokowi's presidential wins in 2014 and 2019.
Also on Monday, Jokowi created a new deputy minister post at the Communications and Information Ministry, appointing former activist and Press Council member Nezar Patria as the deputy minister. Prior to the Monday appointment, Nezar served as a special staffer to State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir. Nezar was The Jakarta Post's editor-in-chief from 2018 to 2020.
The President also appointed four new deputy ministers: Academic Paiman Raharjo who fills Budi's former post as the deputy villages, disadvantaged regions and transmigration minister; former deputy SOE minister Pahala Mansury as the new deputy foreign minister; businessman Rosan Roeslani as the new deputy SOE minister and United Development Party (PPP) politician Saiful Rahmat as the new deputy religious affairs minister.
Two new members of the presidential advisory board (Wantimpres) were also sworn at the State Palace on Monday: Gandi Sulistiyanto Soeherman, a former ambassador to South Korea, and PPP politician Djan Faridz.
They fill the post that were left vacant following the resignation of a member and the death of another in the nine-membership board.