Betweeen Enmity and Electability
A recording of a discussion between Rini and Sofyan-SOEs minister and CEO of the state-owned electric company-has raised the idea to form a special committee in the DPR.
The recess period did not prevent the members of the Industry and Investment Commission of the House of Representatives (DPR) to discuss a recorded conversation between Rini Soemarno and Sofyan Basir. In a WhatsApp group which commission members belong to, the idea was raised to form a special committee to investigate the leak of a recording of the conversation between the minister of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and the CEO of the State Electricity Company (PLN).
Azam Azman Natawijana, Deputy Chair of the DPRs Industry and Investment Commission, said that a special committee needs to be formed because the discussion between Rini and Sofyan mentioned the involvement of people outside of SOEs. Based on the Law on SOEs, according to Azam, there may not be any parties other than the general shareholders meeting, board or directors, and board of commissioners involved in taking care of government-owned company business. This is moving in a certain direction. To make the issue transparent, the way to go is to have a special committee, said Azam on Friday last week.
The Democrat Party politician said that the idea to form a special committee was raised by some legislators from a number of political factions. However, no special meetings have been held to discuss that idea. After the end of recess on May 18, we will talk about it again, said Azam.
Mohamad Hekal, also a deputy chair of the commission, said that they will ask for clarification from all related parties before forming a special committee. If it is true that there is a broker or project mafia there, it would be a huge scandal, said the Gerindra Party politician.
If a special committee is formed, Rini will again have to face the DPR. In December 2015, she was questioned by a DPR Special Committee regarding Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) II. At that time, the committee questioned Rinis decision to issue an approval for a contract to manage the Jakarta International Container Terminal made between Pelindo II and Hutchison Port Holdings. The special committee then recommended to President Joko Widodo to dismiss both Rini and Pelindo II CEO Richard Joost Lino.
At that time, the formation of a Pelindo II Special Committee was being pushed by politicians from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the party which suggested Rini to President Jokowi when forming the cabinet. It is said that a worsening relationship between Rini and PDI-P General Chair Megawati Soekarnoputri was the root of the problem.
When the President was forming the cabinet, according to one politician, Rini turned down Megawatis wish to have her placed in a position other than Minister of SOEs. Rini, who was chair of the Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla Administration Transition Team, insisted on occupying that cabinet position, responsible for managing 115 state-owned enterprises.
Since then, the PDI-P has repeatedly asked Jokowi to dismiss Rini from the cabinet. One PDI-P politician, Effendi Simbolon, called Riniand (the then) Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajantothe main enemy.
Eriko Sotarduga, a commission member from the PDI-P, denied their party is seeking revenge on Rini. He has encouraged that the leaked recording of Rini and Sofyans conversation be fully investigated. The PDI-P, Eriko continues, considers that Rini has not been prudent in managing the state companies. That recording is an indication that good corporate governance is not being done. This can be used as a good momentum for the President to clean up the SOEs, he said.
Regarding the possibility of Rini being fired, Eriko said that this is under the full authority of the President, and that their party is not going to encourage her dismissal. The PDI-P Deputy Secretary-General also said that his party does not have any plans to support the idea of forming a special committee. Eriko feels that a special committee could backfire against President Jokowi and affect his electability before the presidential election. If his electability goes down, then the electability of our party will go down as well.
On several occasions, Rini Soemarno said that under her leadership, the performance of SOEs has been stellar. Over a hundred state companies have helped improve the economy, among others by creating about a million jobs.