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No rush to assign active military officers to ministries: President

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I see there is no urgent need (to place active officers)

Jakarta (ANTARA) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) believes that there is no urgency 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 said Thursday in Boyolali, Central Java.

The President’s remarks were made in response to the suggestion by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, to amend the National Defense Forces Act to allow the posting of military officers and police active in the ministries.

At the National Retired Army Association (PPAD) national rally last Friday (August 5), Pandjaitan stressed that the change was needed to ensure that senior military officers can work more effectively.

“It will be quite beneficial because we don’t need too many high-ranking officers in the army. The army will be more efficient and the officers won’t need to (get into) a fight to get higher positions,” noted the Coordinating Minister.

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 transport ministry.

He then expressed the hope that the military and the Ministry of Defense would jointly advocate for the inclusion of the regulation allowing assignment to civilian posts in the amendment of the law.

Pandjaitan’s statement drew criticism from various public organizations, including the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), which viewed the Coordinating Ministry’s statement as advocating authoritarianism and undermining Indonesian democracy.

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

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