Carlos K.Y. Paath, Jakarta – Idham Azis rose to become a police general after being sworn in as the new National Police chief on Friday, with predecessor Tito Karnavian warning him of tough days ahead.
"Being a National Police chief is never easy. You have to manage 450,000 personnel, 34 provincial forces, more than 500 district forces and almost 5,000 sub-district forces," Tito said after the inauguration ceremony at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.
"Not to mention the main tasks of keeping national security in order while also improving services to the public," he said.
Among Idham's immediate challenges are the gubernatorial and district head elections across multiple regions next year.
"Law enforcement in a very pluralistic country and free democracy is not an easy task. Many ideological and political problems will arise during next year's 270-region elections," Tito, now the home affairs minister, said.
In 2016, Tito faced a series of mass demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of Islamic protesters calling for the then Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to be tried for blasphemy.
The furor led to a very heated Jakarta gubernatorial election the following year, marred by sectarian conflicts and ended with Ahok's loss to Anies Baswedan and his blasphemy conviction.
That was followed by national political contests heading to last April's legislative and presidential elections. "I endured very hard times during the three years and three months [of my tenure]," Tito said.
Idham also received a special message from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who led the inauguration. "The president asked me to work, work and work," Idham said.
Idham promised to build on the work of his predecessor, especially in building closer cooperation with the Indonesian Military.