Minister Luhut Criticized in Indonesia - Singapore Gas Deal

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  • Indonesian top security minister Luhut Panjaitan, center, Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan, left, and Attorney General George Brandis, right, walk to attend a joint press conference after their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. Indonesian police say they have foiled a suspected Muslim militant's plot to carry out attacks during the year-end holiday season with help from the information from the U.S., Australian and Singaporean intelligence. AP/Achmad Ibrahim

    Indonesian top security minister Luhut Panjaitan, center, Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan, left, and Attorney General George Brandis, right, walk to attend a joint press conference after their meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015. Indonesian police say they have foiled a suspected Muslim militant's plot to carry out attacks during the year-end holiday season with help from the information from the U.S., Australian and Singaporean intelligence. AP/Achmad Ibrahim

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - An economist Faisal Basri deemed the role of Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs in bridging a partnership in a liquid nitrogen gas (LNG) deal between Indonesia and Singapore inappropriate.

    “[I think, the move made by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs] Luhut Pandjaitan [who] arranged the meeting between the seller and the buyer seems to be inappropriate,” said Faisal on Thursday, September 14.

    According to Faisal, Minister Luhut had effectively taken over the role of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, and is not in accordance with his post. “Why don't [you] become the president instead, or be appointed as a senior minister,” he said.

    Read: Govt Denies Rumor It is Planning to Import Gas from Singapore

    Faisal heard reports earlier that the deal with Singapore was about importing gas from them. Meanwhile, the gas that Singapore sells originates from Indonesia that was sent from Natuna, he said.

    Faisal observed that the Indonesian government had opted out of the import deal plan since the issue was widely spread and finally decided to open a partnership with Singapore to develop domestic gas infrastructures instead.

    “The plan to import gas seems to be too forced despite the sufficient gas reserves that Indonesia owns. Especially in the middle of a sluggish economy,” said Faisal.

    Minister Luhut has denied a rumor that Indonesia is planning to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Singapore. He said that the government is only negotiating a deal to build mini infrastructure that can transport LNG to small power plants.

    Luhut stated that there was no violation in Indonesia’s partnership with a Singaporean company, Keppel Offshore and Marine. He reasoned that it was an exchange plan and not an import plan.

    IMAM HAMDI