Prabowo Subianto as minister of defense and Nadiem Makarim as minister of education and culture? Indonesian netizens react

President Jokowi and his ministers for the 2019-2024 period. Photo: Indonesia Cabinet Secretariat
President Jokowi and his ministers for the 2019-2024 period. Photo: Indonesia Cabinet Secretariat

Well, after days of speculation, President Joko Widodo finally announced his new cabinet ministers for the 2019-2024 period, and boy were there some surprising appointments.

The full list of the top government posts can be found here, but Indonesian social media has been abuzz with shocked reactions and appreciation for some of the appointments. Here are some of the trending topics online in relation to Jokowi’s new cabinet.

Nadiem Makarim as minister of education and culture

The 35-year-old founder of superapp Gojek, who resigned as CEO of the company on Monday, is now practically in charge of shaping Indonesia’s future. The term “Mendikbud”, which is the official abbreviation for the Ministry of Education and Culture, has become the top trending topic on Twitter this morning, filled with posts that, by and large, praised Nadiem’s appointment (and the inevitable ride-hailing app jokes).

Susi Pudjiastuti’s absence

Susi Pudjiastuti is a highly successful businesswoman (having started her own airline, Susi Air) an avid paddle boater, renowned environmentalist, rock star, Wonder Woman, and a catwalk model. It’s no surprise that netizens were disappointed that she did not resume her role as marine affairs and fisheries minister — a post that went to Gerindra party politician Edhy Prabowo.

The term “Bu Susi” has also become one of the top trending topics on social media this morning, as netizens express their gratitude to the highly popular former minister.

Prabowo Subianto as minister of defense

Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto, who was defeated by Jokowi in two bitterly fought presidential elections, is now in charge of the nation’s defense. On the surface, it’s an appointment that makes perfect sense considering Prabowo’s past as a military general, but it can’t be ignored that this appointment reeks of transactional politics as Gerindra led the opposition over most of the past decade.

That is a sentiment shared by many who tweeted with the phrase “Pak Prabowo” this morning, though some did praise the new minister for his humility in accepting a ministerial post.

By God is this it? After all the struggle in the last five years to change perceptions and struggle to replace the president. Is this what it has come to Prabowo?

Why is Prabowo boarding a damaged ship?

Other controversial appointments

Former National Police Chief Tito Karnavian as minister of home affairs, former military general Fachrul Razi as minister of religious affairs and Mahfud MD as coordinating minister for politics, justice, and human rights were among the most talked about appointments on social media. Some have speculated that these appointments, as well as that of Prabowo, signals that Jokowi is ready to get tough on radicalism in the country.

Wow, the religious affairs minister is from the military. Hopefully he will be more brave and stern against those who ride on religion.

And then, there’s the re-appointment of Yasonna Laoly as minister of law and human rights. It should be noted that Yasonna was instrumental in the passing of the highly controversial revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission Law last month.

What do you think about President Jokowi’s new cabinet? Did any particular appointment surprise or disappoint you? Let us know in the comments section below or on our social media pages.

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