Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Indonesian energy minister sacked for holding dual citizenship

This is the case embarrassing for Indonesia. One minister only served for 20 days.

President Joko Widodo looked so proud to have been appointed Arcandra as energy minister in late July during the second cabinet reshuffle.

Shortly thereafter, the president was forced to fire him. It happened because of the inaccuracy of government or there may be some element of intent.

Arcandra Tahar, who became minister of energy and mineral resources last month, was sacked following a dispute over his citizenship.

Arcandra spent more than 20 years in the U.S. and reportedly has both U.S. and Indonesian passports. He entered Indonesia using the Indonesian one when he was summoned home by Jokowi to take the post.

Under Indonesian law, Cabinet ministers must hold Indonesian citizenship. An Indonesian must renounce their citizenship should they take another passport.
Questions about Arcandra’s citizenship began swirling at the weekend when it emerged that he possessed US and Indonesian passports.

Tahar held US citizenship since being naturalised four years ago, but had not surrendered his Indonesian passport. He was one of nine new ministers appointed in second Cabinet reshuffle on July, 27.

"To respond to public questions regarding the citizenship of energy and mining minister Arcandra Tahar, and after obtaining information from various sources, the president has decided to honourably remove Arcandra Tahar," State Secretary Pratikno said.

Pratikno, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said in a televised address that Tahar's dismissal would take effect Tuesday.

Luhut Pandjaitan, a key Widodo ally and senior cabinet minister, will take charge of the energy portfolio until a replacement is selected.

Tahar was a former executive at Petroneering, an offshore engineering company based in Texas. He was asked by Widodo to join the cabinet as energy minister.

His removal after less than three weeks as minister is an embarrassment, analysts said.

"It's an embarrassing failure on the part of the government to conduct even the most basic due diligence," said Keith Loveard, Jakarta-based analyst with Concord Consulting.

© Reuters


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