Deputy Minister Spat Not Over Yet
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s issuing of a new regulation on the 20 deputy ministers in his cabinet after the Constitutional Court earlier declared all of their appointments unconstitutional has not sat well with some activists.
The Constitutional Court based its decision on Article 9 of Law No. 39/2008, which states that the bureaucratic hierarchy of ministries must comprise a minister at the top, followed by a secretary general, a director general and an inspector general, with no mention of a deputy minister.
The National Movement to Eradicate Corruption (GNPK) said it was not happy with the president’s new decree and would file a judicial review at the Supreme Court for a possible breach of law.
“We will file a legal review with the Supreme Court to see whether the presidential regulation or decree violates the law,” GNPK chairman Adi Warman told Detik.com on Sunday.
Adi said he had not seen the informal report about the president’s decision to retain the deputy ministers.
“As far as I know, the president hasn’t issued any decree. But if he has, we will certainly react to it because it’s possible that it could breach Article 9 of Law No.39/2008,” he said.
Hikmahanto Juwana, a law professor at the University of Indonesia, called on the president to amend the decree to accommodate several issues over what deputy ministers could and couldn’t do.
He said that deputy ministers should be banned from being appointed as commissioners or supervisors on the boards of state-owned enterprises.
“This is because members of political parties are banned from assuming the commissioner position in state enterprises. To create a level playing field, deputy ministers who are affiliated with political parties should also be banned,” Hikmahanto said.
Deputy ministers should also have a deep knowledge about how the government bureaucracy works, he said.
“This is because deputy ministers will take over some of the ministers’ jobs,” he said. “It’s better that deputy ministers focus on internal issues rather than external issues. Coordination must be a top priority.”
Hikmahanto also suggested that ministers be allowed to propose their own deputies, which the president could approve.
“This is to prevent a situation where a minister and deputy minister come from different parties,” he said. “This situation has become a burden in the regional government where governors and mayors or district heads come from different political parties and district heads defy a governor’s order to comply with the public’s demands.”