Jakarta – If it appears as if Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has not made much of a splash in his first 100 days in office, it is by design, the senior Muslim cleric said.
"I'm the vice president. The President should be the one who stands out. If the vice president stands out, there will be 'twin suns'," Ma'ruf told reporters at the Vice Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Wednesday.
He said that despite not being in the spotlight, he carried out his duties as vice president well, for example by representing the President in certain events and by voicing his opinions during Cabinet meetings.
"I also handle various issues that have been assigned [to me] by the President, but in a coordinating role," he said, adding that ministers had operational roles.
He said that he had held coordination meetings on small and medium enterprises, radicalism and poverty, for example. "That's what my duties are like as vice president," he said.
Ma'ruf has been a peripheral figure in the first few months of the administration, drawing unfavorable comparisons to former vice president Jusuf Kalla, a more experienced politician who was active in policy-making.
Before becoming vice president, Ma'ruf was largely outside the national political scene, last holding a legislative seat for the National Awakening Party (PKB) in 2004.
Since then, he has been mostly involved in religious organizations, having formerly headed Islamic mass organization Nahdlatul Ulama as its rais a'am (supreme leader), while he still holds the position of chairman at the Indonesian Ulema Council. (kmt)