Saturday, May 19, 2007

President has busy days ahead of reshuffle

Saturday, April 28, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has involved himself in a busy schedule ahead of the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle, encompassing several meetings and ceremonies in Yogyakarta and Bali and a visit to Central Sulawesi.

Yudhoyono arrived mid-Thursday in Bali after attending the annual national meeting of the country's second largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, in Yogyakarta.

In Bali, the President then held a limited Cabinet meeting with several ministers at Tampaksiring Palace on Friday, before witnessing the signing of an extradition pact and defense agreement between Indonesia and Singapore.

The defense treaty was signed by Indonesian Defense Minister Yuwono Sudarsono and his Singaporean counterpart Teo Chee Hean. The extradition pact was signed by Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda.

Prior to the signing of the treaties, the President held a bilateral meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

On Saturday, Yudhoyono, accompanied by Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa and Public Works Minister Joko Kirmanto, will visit the island of Nusa Penida on a ferry to officiate several development projects, including those covering Nusa Penida's harbor and Telaga Tanjung dam, located in Tabanan regency.

On Saturday evening, the President and first lady are scheduled to attend the celebration of the National Dharma Santi Nyepi holiday of Saka 1929 New Year at an art center in Denpasar.

On Sunday, he is scheduled to open the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua before leaving for Central Sulawesi on Monday.

Meanwhile, ahead of the reshuffle, observers and politicians have expressed various opinions on the President's decision to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Analyst Sukardi Rinakit told a public discussion that the reshuffle would not be effective if the President continued to accommodate the political parties' demands and suggested that he replace at least one-third, or 11, ministers in his Cabinet.

"The President should replace those who are considered failing to execute their duties without considering any pressure from the parties. If the President is susceptible, the reshuffle will only bring other problems," Sukardi was quoted as saying by news portal.

Ahmad Fahrial, a United Development Party (PPP) executive, said his party would be prepared if State Minister for State Enterprises Soegiarto was replaced.

He said the PPP acknowledged only three ministers as members of its body: Social Services Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah, State Minister for Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Suryadarma Ali and State Minister for the Development of Disadvantaged Regions Saifullah Yusuf.

"It is not our concern if the minister for state enterprises is to be replaced, but we see that these ministers are our best people and we think they are still eligible to hold their positions," Fahrial said Friday, as quoted by news portal.

National Mandate Party chairman Soetrisno Bachir said the President should not tolerate ministers who are involved in cases of alleged corruption, sick or economy-based ministers who have failed to empowered the real sectors. (02)

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