No urgency to assign active military officers to ministries said Indonesian President

Indonesian President

Boyolali, The Gulf Observer: Indonesian President Jokowi believes it is not urgent to assign active military or police officers to civilian positions, such as in ministries or government institutions.

“I see there is no urgent need (to place active officers),” the president stated in Boyolali, Central Java, on Thursday.

The president’s remarks were made in response to the suggestion by Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to amend the National Defense Forces Law to allow the assignment of active military and police officers in government ministries.

During the National Retired Army Association (PPAD) national gathering last Friday (August 5), Pandjaitan emphasized that the change was necessary to ensure that high-ranking military officers can work more efficiently.

“It will instead be beneficial because we do not need too many high-ranking officers in the Army. The Army will be more efficient, and officers need not (get into a) brawl to get higher positions,” the coordinating minister remarked.

He pointed out that currently, active military officers cannot be assigned to government ministries and institutions except in some, such as the National Police and the transportation ministry.

He then expressed hope that the military and the defense ministry would together advocate the inclusion of the regulation allowing the assignment to civilian positions in the amendment of the law.

Pandjaitan’s statement has drawn flak from various public organizations, including the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), which viewed the coordinating ministry’s statement as advocating authoritarianism and undermining Indonesia’s democracy.

The organization also viewed his proposal as an effort to restore the abandoned “dual function” military doctrine that justified the military’s involvement in civilian affairs during the New Order era.