Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mahfud M.D. has called on all political parties to stop bickering over deputy ministers’ positions, saying that the court’s recent ruling strengthened the president’s authority to appoint deputy ministers.
“[The deputy ministers’ position] is clear,” Mahfud said. “If people want to continue looking for faults, then it’s never going to end.”
Mahfud told parties that it was time to grow up for the sake of the nation, and reminded them that the president has the prerogative to choose deputy ministers by political appointment, which means they are political positions.
He added that the court’s ruling on June 5 strengthened the president’s authority to decide whether to appoint deputy ministers. The ruling was seen by many observers as undermining the basis on which the deputies were appointed.
But President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has since issued a presidential regulation and presidential decree to retain the deputy ministers’ positions.
The National Movement to Eradicate Corruption (GNPK) filed a judicial review on the presidential regulation at the Supreme Court on Thursday after also filing it at the Constitutional Court recently.
GNPK chairman Adi Warman said the reason they challenged the presidential regulation is that deputy ministers have more authority than other ministerial staff and they feared that it could pave the way for corruption. GNPK also considered the presidential regulation on deputy ministers’ appointments as violating articles 9 and 10 of the State Ministry Law.
Yudhoyono installed Nafsiah Mboi on Thursday, as health minister to replace the late Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih.
Rudi Rubiandini was appointed to be energy and mineral resources deputy minister, replacing the late Widjajono Partowidagdo.
Also, Chatib Basri was installed as chairman of the Investment Coordination Board (BKPM), and Hendarman Supandji as head of National Land Agency (BPN).
Chatib replaced Gita Wirjawan, who was appointed Trade Minister last year. Hendarman, the former attorney general, is replacing Joyo Winoto.
Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha denied rumors that Joyo was replaced because of his alleged involvement in Hambalang sports center graft case.
“Pak Joyo’s term had already expired and we had been looking for the right person to fill the BPN chief position for some time,” Julian said.
The spokesman added that the Palace was looking for a figure capable of making good decisions given the myriad land issues to be dealt with.
Joyo was invited to the inauguration at the State Palace but did not attend.
Hendarman said he will focus on land reform, especially in relation to the distribution of agriculture land.
“I will sort out land disputes,” he said. “The president asked me to report to him what I map out in one month.”
Hendarman said he will ask his deputies to work on land mapping across Indonesia, especially in disputed areas.
“We will then find solutions for these disputes. There are so many of them, thousands from Sabang to Merauke,” he said.
Nafsiah said she was happy to accept the challenges of her new job.
“I’m happy not because I got a nice car but because I am given the chance to work professionally,” she said.
Nafsiah has been nominated as health minister several times since 2004, but personal health issues prevented her from taking up the position.
“It’s true that I’ve been nominated several times, but I believe that God has arranged this,” she said.
Nafsiah, a long-time AIDS activist, said she would not interfere in the work of the AIDS Prevention Commission.