Behind Ahok's Appointment as Pertamina's Chief Commissioner

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  •  President Joko Widodo (left) chats with Pertamina president commissioner Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok during the former's visit to the refinery area of PT Trans Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI) in Tuban, East Java, Saturday, December 21, 2019.  instagram.com/basukibtp

    President Joko Widodo (left) chats with Pertamina president commissioner Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok during the former's visit to the refinery area of PT Trans Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI) in Tuban, East Java, Saturday, December 21, 2019. instagram.com/basukibtp

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or popularly known as Ahok, revealed that President Jokowi initially asked the former Jakarta governor’s help to oversee a number of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in a meeting at the Bogor State Palace. 

    In that meeting, said Ahok, the President elaborated about fixing one of the country’s main issues, which takes form as the trade balance. Jokowi argues that one tool that could be maximized to solve that issue is within the State-owned Enterprises. 

    He was asked to monitor two firms that control 28 percent of SOEs: energy firm Pertamina and electricity firm PLN. 

    “I said that I cannot monitor both of them, I am incapable of doing that,” said Basuki in an interview with Tempo on Thursday, February 13. He then opted for Pertamina and was asked by the President to meet State Secretary Pratikno to discuss further details. 

    Talks that emerged in the initial meeting in Bogor were continued by Pratikno, who then set the meeting between Basuki and the newly-appointed SOE Minister Erick Thohir. During this time rumors were rife among in the public about the state enterprise that Ahok would be placed at. 

    Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said he asked Erick Thohir to not appoint him as president-director. “I would not be able to [be in other places] as a president-director,” said Basuki, who is amidst establishing a business in the corn and chicken industries.

    Regarding rumors of him preferring to be the president commissioner, a position he eventually held, and shying away from a position as president director, Basuki said, “In fact, I was okay as president only if the board of directors would listen. What’s the difference? The pay is only 55 percent less right?”

    However, Ahok asserted that his decision to accept the task as Pertamina’s main commissioner is not only for the wage. “I don’t seek the pay in work. This is not my business. I guess that is how I see it.” Presently, or Ahok is tasked to reduce gas and oil import dependency and help establish the once-abandoned mission to build oil refineries. 

    “We need a figure of breakthrough,” said Minister Erick Thohir at the time.

    Read more in the latest edition of Tempo Magazine 

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