Experts Tapped For Key Positions in Indonesia's Ministries

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Sunday he would soon name deputy ministers to at least six important ministries, and prioritize professionals for the posts. At a news conference here, where he was attending an Asia-Pacific summit, the president said the ministries that required deputy ministers were those tasked with revitalization programs aimed at building stronger governance. “The next five years have a number of important priorities and agendas for particular ministries that will have to carry out the revitalization programs,” he said. According to Yudhoyono, at least four ministries had been given revitalization agendas — the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of National Education and Ministry of Health. The Agriculture Ministry, for example, has been tasked with revitalizing strategic commodities to achieve self-sufficiency. The Health Ministry will focus more on public health issues such as insurance. “These ministries will have a high ‘workload’ … they need to have ‘backup’ to ensure the wheels keep turning,” the president said. Yudhoyono said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance both required deputy ministers to take charge when the minister was abroad. “The minister of foreign affairs and the minister of finance spend a lot of time overseas,” he said. The president said he would prioritize professionals for the deputy ministerial positions, although one or two deputy ministers could be taken from political parties. “I’ll prioritize professionals who are not affiliated with political parties because they can focus on the job,” he said. Meanwhile, the president also affirmed that Indonesia would never leave the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “Indeed, I have heard concerns that if Indonesia has a new club, namely the G-20, then it will no longer make Asean its main house,” he said. As one of the founders of the regional grouping, the president said, Indonesia would maintain an active role and continue to play an important part in Asean. During the G-20 meeting in the US city of Pittsburgh in September, Yudhoyono also expressed his desire for the Asean rotating chairman to be invited to future meets. The three-day conference in Thailand closed on Sunday with the fourth East Asia Summit, where leaders of the 10 Asean member nations met with their counterparts from China , Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. On the sidelines of Sunday’s summit, Yudhoyono also met with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who offered a $400 million loan to help tackle global warming. The loan was part of the “Hatoyama Initiative” unveiled last month, in which Tokyo would provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries to help address climate change. The three-day summit included the launch of Asean’s first human rights watchdog and talks on the economic integration of the association by 2015, disaster management issues, climate change and military-ruled Burma, an Asean member widely criticized internationally for its human rights record.

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