Carlos Ky Paath, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo may need to reshuffle his cabinet sooner before his term ends on October 20 as three of his current ministers are now implicated in corruption cases.
"The President's answer to a cabinet reshuffle is 'yes' or 'no,' depending on necessity," presidential chief of staff Moeldoko said on Thursday.
"We all hope it won't have to happen because we still have several months left to work [until the end of Jokowi's term]," he said.
Jokowi is expected to get a second term as president with him and running mate Ma'ruf Amin currently leading the presidential election according to quick counts and also according to an official count from the General Elections Commissions (KPU).
The president has said he would like more professionals in the mold of current Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Maritime and Fisheries Minister Sri Pudjiastuti in his economic team to pick up the pace of reform.
But Jokowi also needs to make room for his political allies to ensure strong support in the parliament. His coalition parties will demand posts in a new cabinet while at the same time the president may need to keep one or two posts for candidates of his choice to lure parties leaving rival Prabowo Subianto.
This balancing act could turn even more messy as several of Jokowi's current ministers are now implicated in corruption investigations by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Earlier this week, the anti-graft agency raided the office and home of Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, a Nasdem politician, looking for proof of his alleged links to a graft case involving Golkar lawmaker Bowo Sidik. Enggartiasto has denied any involvement in the case.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi and Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin are facing bribery scandals in their own ministries.
KPK confiscated money from Lukman's office last month, suspecting it was a bribe from fellow PPP politician Romahurmuziy.
Meanwhile, senior officials at Imam's ministry are waiting to be tried for receiving bribes from Indonesia's National Sports Committee (KONI). KPK, however, has not named either of the ministers as a suspect.
Moeldoko said President Jokowi would never intervene in legal cases involving his ministers.
Last year, former Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham was charged with receiving bribes from a power plant developer. Idrus resigned immediately. He was the first Jokowi minister to be named as a suspect and convicted in a corruption case.
"The President did not intervene in the Idrus case. And neither will he in the case of current ministers who may still have to deal with the law," Moeldoko said.