Moh Said, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has taken decisive action to accelerate the construction of 4G internet networks in remote regions, following a delay caused by graft allegations against the former communication and informatics minister.
In a cabinet reshuffle announced on Monday, the president appointed Budi Arie Setiadi, a loyalist and prominent figure in the pro-Jokowi group or Projo, as the new communication minister, replacing Johnny Plate.
Addressing the urgency of the situation, President Jokowi emphasized that the immediate resumption of constructing base transceiver stations (BTS) for 4G internet in the country's outermost areas is of paramount importance.
He declared it a top priority for the new minister, stressing the significance of providing essential services to the remote communities.
"The legal proceedings [against Johnny] will proceed as per the due process, and we respect that. However, we cannot afford to halt the BTS project, as it directly impacts our services in outermost regions," said the President.
Johnny is being tried for allegedly taking bribes in a major graft scandal that centers around the 4G internet project. The Attorney General's Office claims that the tender for the project was manipulated by certain officials and businessmen, resulting in a loss of Rp 8 trillion ($536 million) to the state.
The cabinet reshuffle also included the appointment of several new vice ministers across various ministries. The objective behind this move is to expedite the government's work, as President Jokowi has a mere 14 months remaining before retirement.
"We have limited time, and we must work faster to achieve our goals," Jokowi asserted during the ceremony to inaugurate the new cabinet members at the State Palace in Jakarta.
Additionally, the government plans to establish a specialized task force under the Communication and Informatics Ministry, dedicated to handling information and communication technology, artificial intelligence, and satellite technology, Jokowi said.