Gisela Swaragita, Jakarta – When President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo named Bintang Puspayoga as the women's empowerment and child protection minister, many assumed the surprising appointment was owed to her status as the wife of Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga, a former minister and Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician.
In fact, it appears the appointment is the result of a strong decades-long bond between the family of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri and the legendary Puri Satria family of Bali.
Made Urip, head of the PDI-P Bali executive board, said Megawati had recommended the appointment of Bintang Puspayoga, whose full name is I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati.
"It is from the chairwoman. Thus it is the recommendation from the PDI-P," Made said on Wednesday as quoted by bali.tribunnews.com.
The PDI-P secured five posts in the Indonesia Onward Cabinet. Aside from Bintang, the four others are Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara and Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Tjahjo Kumolo.
Bintang was considered an underdog among the list of potential ministerial candidates from Bali. According to Made, she made the shortlist thanks to her extended family's relationship with Megawati.
Bintang's husband Puspayoga is a member of the Puri Satria family, which built a strong relationship with Megawati's father and Indonesia's first president Soekarno.
A longtime PDI-P politician, Puspayoga served as Denpasar mayor (2000-2008), Bali deputy governor (2008-2013) and cooperatives and small and medium enterprises minister in Jokowi's first-term Cabinet.
Born on Nov 24, 1968, Bintang is known for her involvement in several social organizations and her passion for table tennis. She led the Bali chapter of Indonesian Table Tennis Association from 2015 to 2019 and occasionally took part in table tennis matches.
Bintang is the first woman minister from Bali. Previous Balinese ministers include Ida Bagus Sudjana as the mining and energy minister (1993-1998), Ida Bagus Oka as the civil state minister (1998-1999) and Jero Wacik as the tourism minister for two consecutive terms (2004-2011). (gis)