What does the New Indonesian Cabinet mean for Australian Business in Indonesia?

President Joko Widodo announced the new cabinet on Sunday 26th October, and it included a good mix of political experience in addition to some business acumen. There is much that can be read into these appointees, based upon their experience with Australia. Many of these new ministers have been educated to postgraduate level at international universities, including for example the new State Secretary Pak Pratikno, who has studied in Indonesia, Britain and Australia, where he graduated with his PhD in Asian Studies from Flinders University. Unfortunately this cabinet only includes a couple of Australian University graduates, while a majority of the cabinet have studied in universities in the US. The proof will be in the pudding as to the business environment that this cabinet will create in Indonesia. The business experience of the ministers includes infrastructure, mining, agribusiness, telecommunications, and tourism. Trade Minister Rahmat Gobel has control of one of Indonesia’s largest manufacturing companies, and has experience in negotiating cross border mergers and acquisitions. Hopefully these appointments signal an intent to develop sustainable trade and investment policies while creating a business environment that will seek to address many of the infrastructure and regulatory challenges confronting the country.

Here are some of the 34 profiles of the men and women who will be inaugurated on today.

State Secretary Pratikno

Pratikno is one of the few appointees to President Joko Widodo’s cabinet without ties to any of the parties in the ruling coalition or their leaders. The rector of Yogyakarta’s prestigious Gadjah Mada University (UGM) since 2012, Pratikno was born in Bojonegoro, East Java, on Feb. 13, 1962. He obtained a degree in political science from UGM, a master’s in social science from the University of Birmingham, in Britain, and a PhD in Asian studies from Flinders University in South Australia.

Development Planning Minister/National Development Planning Agency Chief Andrinof Chaniago

He is the executive director of the Jakarta-based Cirus Surveyor Group and one of the leaders of the Indonesian Political Science Association (AIPI). Andrinof completed his bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Indonesia, where he currently teaches politics at the post-graduate level. At the same university, he obtained his master’s degree in public policy and planning, at the Faculty of Economics, as well as a PhD in philosophy.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Indroyono Soesilo

Indroyono Soesilo is not a new name in Indonesia’s maritime affairs. Currently in a high-placed fisheries role at the United Nations. He was director general of sea research and exploration in the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries (1999); was head of the government’s agency of maritime and fisheries research (2001-2008); and secretary at Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare (2008-2001). He is the first appointee to the new post of coordinating minister for maritime affairs — a crucial role in Joko’s plan to develop Indonesia’s rich maritime potential. He has worked at the UN since 2012 and is currently the director of the fisheries and aquaculture resources use and conservation division in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan

He has been the president director of state-owned train and railways company Kereta Api Indonesia since 2009. Jonan graduated from Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java, with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy. He joined executive courses at the Columbia Business School and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government before continuing his study for a master’s degree at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, majoring in international relations. Before leading KAI, Jonan was a managing director at Citibank (2006-08) and chief executive officer at Bahana Pembinaan Usaha Indonesia, a state-owned investment, ventures, and trading company (2001-06).

Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti

Susi is an entrepreneur. Born on Jan. 15, 1965, she owns and is the chief executive of ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation, which operates chartered and commuter service airline Susi Air. In 1996 she established a fish processing facility under her company ASI Pudhiastuti Marine Project. She also behind the famous “Susi Brand” lobster.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya

He’s served as the chief executive at the state-run telecommunications firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) since 2012. And previously the enterprise and wholesale director at the country’s biggest telecommunications company in 2005.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Sudirman Said

Sudirman is president director of state-owned land-systems and weapons maker Pindad. He also served as the deputy president director at local oil, gas and mining contractor Petrosea in 2013 and was among the candidates to become Pertamina’s director in 2008. He graduated from the State Accounting Academy (STAN) in 1981 and obtained his master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University, in Washington, DC, in 1994. Sudirman has a reputation of being a corruption fighter as well as an activist supporting of disaster-prone areas.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Tedjo Edy Purdjianto

Tedjo Edy Purdjianto, a retired Navy admiral, graduated from the Military Academy in 1975. Tedjo’s last position in the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) was Navy chief of staff in 2008-09.

Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo

Tjahjo Kumolo has been a member of the House of Representatives for a very long time. His tenure started back in 1987 when he was in the ruling Golkar Party. He was reelected in 1992 and 1997. After the end of the New Order era, Tjahjo joined the emerging new party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and ran for another term in the House. He was elected in 1999 and has been representing the party ever since. Tjahjo was reelected in the latest 2014 legislative election. In the PDI-P, Tjahjo holds a strategic position as the party’s secretary general. He previously was the party’s head of political affairs. In the 2014 presidential election, Tjahjo was appointed as campaign manager for Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi

Retno is Indonesia’s first female foreign minister and has been the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands since 2012. Retno has had a brilliant career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which started after she graduated from Gadjah Mada University’s international relations program in 1985 and joined the ministry’s diplomatic service. She quickly started moving up in the ministry, starting in the Bureau of Analysis and Evaluation for Asean Partnerships before moving to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra. Later she became the ambassador to Norway and Iceland, in 2005-08. She then returned to Indonesia to continue her career in the ministry as Director General for America and Europe.

Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu

Gen. (ret.) Ryamizard Ryacudu is a controversial figure in Joko’s cabinet and his inclusion is bound to upset human rights advocates. Ryamizard was Army chief of staff between 2002 and 2005 and chief of the Army’s strategic command (Kostrad) between 2000 and 2002. He was involved in Operation Seroja — Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor — as well as operations against Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Free Papua Organization (OPM).

Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly

Lawmaker Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly is a longstanding member of Joko’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). A lawyer by trade, Yasonna started his political career in 1999 when he was elected to South Sumatra’s Regional Legislative Council (DPRD). He graduated from the University of North Sumatra’s Law School and continued his study at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a masters degree after he completed their sociology program. He received a doctorate in criminology from North Carolina State University.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara

Rudiantara is also one of the few candidates who takes over a portfolio where they have a rich and proven track record. Rudiantara obtained a bachelor’s degree in statistics from Bandung’s Padjadjaran University and an MBA from the Indonesian Institute for Management Development. He served on all of Indonesia’s main mobile carriers, including as general manager for business development at Indosat, director of Telkomsel, and director of corporate affairs at XL. He also held posts on the board of directors or board of commissioners of a range of state-controlled and private companies, including Telkom, state utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), miner Rajawali Asia Resources and Bukitasam Transpacific Railways.

Minister of Administrative Reform Yuddy Chrisnandi

Yuddy, who was born in Bandung on 29 Mei, 1968, was a member of the House of Representatives in 2004-09 for the Golkar Party, which he later left for the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura). Yuddy has long been teaching at various institutes of higher education, including at the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Social and Political Sciece, where he obtained a PhD degree in 2004, with a dissertation on civil-military relations in Indonesia.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Sofyan Djalil

Sofyan Abdul Djalil was a senior adviser to the minister for state-owned enterprise empowerment from June 1998 to February 2000, as minister of communications and information technology from October 2004 to May 2007 and as minister for state-owned enterprises from May 2007 to October 2009.

Sofyan is a president commissioner of Trimegah Securities and has been an independent commissioner at the firm since June 2010. Sofyan holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Indonesia (1984), he obtained a master of arts degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University in Massachusetts, United States (1989) and a master of arts in law and diplomacy (1991) and PhD (1993) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, also at Tufts.

Finance Minister Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro

Born on Oct. 3 1966, Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro has been active in the world of economics mostly as an academic, but he also served as deputy finance minister during Yudhoyono’s second term as president. He has been a senior researcher for the Laboratory of Economics and Development Studies since 2002 at the University of Indonesia (UI) and vice president of the Association of Indonesia Bachelors of Economics (ISEI) since 2003.Bambang obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics from UI, where he used to be the faculty dean and still teaches some classes. He completed his master’s degree in urban planning and a PhD in regional planning at University of Illinois in the United States.

Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Rini Mariani Soemarno

Rini was formerly minister of trade and industry in 2001 and headed Joko’s Transition Team that aimed to pave the way for a smooth transfer of power from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government, is the daughter of Soemarno, a former central bank governor and Sukarno confidant. Rini studied at the economics faculty of Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She worked for a number of companies such as Semesta Citra Motorindo, the US Department of Treasury, the Office of Multilateral Development Banks, Citibank, Agracom, Kanzen Motor Indonesia and Aora, an Indonesian direct-broadcast satellite pay television company. Rini also served as the deputy chairwoman of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA). Her most prestigious position thus far was president director of Astra International, the country’s biggest auto distributor.

Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga

Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga is a stalwart of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, and was the deputy governor of Bali from 2008 to 2013. He became deputy governor of Bali in 2008, running with Made Mangku Pastika, but split to run against him in 2013, losing by just a fraction of a percentage point.

Industry Minister Saleh Husin

Saleh was a member of the House of Representatives active in Commission V in the period of 2009-2014. Commission V is the one that oversees transportation, public works, housing and development issues. Saleh completed his bachelor’s degree in economics from Jakarta’s Krisnadwipayana University at the age of 33 and is the president director of Sapta Kencana Buana, a logistics company. He obtained his master’s degree in public administration at the same university in 2007.

Trade Minister Rahmat Gobel

Rahmat is one of the heirs of his family business, which was founded by his father Thayeb Mohammed Gobel, and he now serves as the president director at electronics company Panasonic Gobel Group, previously known as Gobel International. He completed his bachelor’s degree in international trade studies at Chuo University in Tokyo in 1987. In 2002, he received an honorary doctorate degree from the Tokushoku University in Tokyo, where he was also appointed as the chairman of metal, machinery, chemicals and electronics division at the Indonesian Chamber of Trade. In 2008, he was involved in Qatar Telecom (Qtel) acquisition of a 40.8 percent stake in Indosat, one of the country’s biggest mobile network companies, from Indonesia Communication Limited (ICLM) and Indonesia Communication Singapore (ICLS).

Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman

Amran Sulaiman is the president director of Tiran Group — a Makassar-based diversified business group which includes agricultural, industry, mining and trade. Amran has a broad knowledge of agricultural issues as he obtained bachelor, master and doctorate degrees in the field at Hasanuddin University in Makassar.

Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri

Hanif Dhakiri was a member of the House of Representatives for the National Awakening Party (PKB) in 2009-14 and has been active in that party since 1998.

Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono

Basuki obtained a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta and master’s and doctorate degrees in civil engineering from Colorado State University in the United States. He was head of research and development at the Public Works Ministry from 2005 to 2007, then inspector general at the ministry from 2007 to 2013, and until recently the ministry’s director general of spatial planning. Basuki has also served as chief commissioner of state-owned builder Wijaya Karya since 2012.

Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya

Siti Nurbaya Bakar is politician from the National Democrat Party (NasDem), one of the parties backing Joko. She obtained her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) and started her career as the head of the Regional Planning and Development Agency (Bappeda) in Lampung in 1981. Siti, who was named as one of 99 most powerful Indonesian women by Globe Asia magazine in 2007, also went to the Netherlands to pursue her studies at the International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences in Enschede.

Land and Spatial Planning Minister Ferry Mursyidan Baldan

Ferry Mursyidan Baldan is a veteran politician with the National Democrat Party, or NasDem, and previously with the Golkar Party. He graduated with a degree in political science from Bandung’s Padjadjaran University in 1988. 

Coordinating Minister of Human Resources Development and Cultural Affairs Puan Maharani

Puan Maharani is the daughter of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri. A senior member in the PDI-P, Puan’s political career started by assisting her mother during presidential visits and campaigns. She is now the PDI-P’s head of political affairs and was closely involved in Joko’s presidential campaign.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin

Lukman Hakim Saifuddin is the only minister in President Joko Widodo’s cabinet who was also a minister in that of his predecessor. Lukman has long been active in Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization. Shortly after becoming a minister this year, Lukman made a point of engaging in talks with the minority Muslim sect Ahmadiyah, which has been the target of sometimes deadly violence in Indonesia in recent years, and other minorities, such as Shiites. He also spoke out against the Islamic State terror movement active in Iraq and Syria.

Health Minister Nila Moeloek

Dr. Nila Djuwita Moeloek is a senior doctor and a was special presidential envoy for the Millennium Development Goals in the 2009-2014 period. Nila is a professor at the University of Indonesia (UI)’s Faculty of Medicine and an expert in ophthalmology. She obtained her general practice and eye specialist licenses at UI’s Faculty of Medicine. She continued her education at the University of Amsterdam’s Orbital Center in the Netherlands and at Japan’s Kobe University. After that, she pursued a doctorate degree at UI.

Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa

Khofifah Indar Parawansa obtained a degree in political science from the city’s Airlangga University in 1991 and a master’s in the same subject from the University of Indonesia in 1997. She joined the House of Representatives in 1992 as a member of the United Development Party (PPP), but joined the newly formed National Awakening Party (PKB) in the wake of Suharto’s downfall. She was minister for women’s empowerment and head of the family planning agency by Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, from the PKB.

Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana S. Yambise

Yohana is a professor at Cenderawasih University. She was the first woman from Papua to become a professor and also the first woman from the country’s easternmost province to become a minister. She has been active in the field of women’s empowerment in the province and children’s education and obtained a master’s degree in education from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, in 1994, and a PhD from University of Newcastle, Australia, in 2007.

Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Anies Baswedan

Anies Baswedan earned his bachelor’s degree from Gadjah Mada University’s Faculty of Economy and continued his studies at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs, focusing on international security and economic policy for his master’s degree. He then went to Northern Illinois University for a PhD in political science. Anies was a prominent researcher and public policy consultant before he was appointed as rector of Paramadina University, making him the country’s youngest rector.

Minister of Research and Technology and Higher Education M. Nasir

Nasir was just last month chosen as rector of Diponegoro University in Semarang, Central Java. Previously, he was dean of the university’s economics and business faculty. He is an expert in accounting, Nasir obtained his master’s degree at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, and a PhD degree at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi

Imam Nahrawi is one of the many political appointees to Joko’s cabinet. Imam, graduated in 1998 from Sunan Ampel State Islamic University in Surabaya. He is the secretary general of the National Awakening Party (PKB), the second-biggest party in Joko’s coalition, and served in the House of Representatives from 2009 to 2014. The biggest challenge he faces is preparing Indonesia to host the 2018 Asian Games.

Minister of Development of Villages and Underdeveloped Regions and Transmigration Marwan Jafar

Marwan Jafar takes over from Helmy Faishal Zaini, his colleague at the National Awakening Party, or PKB, as minister for underdeveloped regions. A trained lawyer with a degree from the Indonesian Islamic University in Yogyakarta, Marwan served two terms in the House of Representatives, from 2004 to 2014. Joko cited as his reason for picking Mawar the fact that the latter had written a book on strategic infrastructure investment for Indonesia. Marwan also served on the House commission overseeing regional development.