Yudhoyono Taps Pangestu to Head Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry

Indonesia's Minister of Tourism Mari Pangestu
Mari Pangestu, Indonesia's minister of tourism and creative economy ministry, Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono tapped Trade Minister Mari Pangestu to run the country’s tourism and creative economy ministry in a cabinet shuffle as the second-term leader faces falling approval ratings.

“I trust Mari Pangestu to lead the ministry,” Yudhoyono said at a press briefing at the presidential palace in Jakarta late yesterday. “I want, in the next three years, to develop tourism and the creative economy. Mari Pangestu has been successful in developing the creative economy and creative industry.”

Pangestu, 54, was appointed trade minister in 2004, when Yudhoyono was elected to his first term. She was an executive director at Jakarta-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies before that. She will be succeeded by Gita Wirjawan, 46, currently head of the government’s investment coordinating board.

Yudhoyono won a second five-year term with 61 percent of the vote in 2009 on pledges to boost the economy, double infrastructure spending and clean up graft. His public support has fallen amid complaints he’s been slow to act, and after the former treasurer of his Democrat party was accused of corruption. Support reached a record low 46.2 percent in a nationwide survey by Jakarta-based Indonesian Survey Circle, taken Oct. 5-10.

“Now is the right time,” Yudhoyono said, referring to the cabinet changes. “Helped by the vice president, we did a mid-term review. The evaluation is a must so that we can complete the tasks of the next three years.”

Yudhoyono said developing the country’s domestic economy is a priority for the remainder of his final term as president.

“With the global economy right now, I want our trading to penetrate the global market,” he said. “On the other side, our domestic economy is big, and getting bigger. We want the domestic trade policy -- inter-island, inter-province, managed well and developed.”

Exports, Challenges

Indonesia’s 2011 exports may rise 25 percent in value to $200 billion, and the government targets an increase of 18 percent to 20 percent next year, Pangestu said on Aug. 18.

“Trade policy won’t change much, and the market won’t react since they already know the person,” Fauzi Ichsan, a Jakarta-based senior economist at Standard Chartered Plc, said.

Among challenges Wirjawan will face as trade minister is a U.S. ban on clove cigarettes, after Indonesia failed in a bid to the World Trade Organization to prove it was unnecessary.

Indonesia argued that U.S. tobacco legislation, signed by President Barack Obama in June 2009, breaks global trade rules because it outlaws cloves and not the mint used to make menthol cigarettes. Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of clove cigarettes, or kreteks, made by companies such as PT Gudang Garam, has exports valued at $500 million a year, a fifth of which go to the U.S.

Below is a table of Yudhoyono’s appointments:

Ministers

Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan Housing Minister Djan Faridz State Apparatus Empowerment Minister Azwar Abubakar Environment Minister Bert Kambuaya Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik Transport Minister Evert Mangindaan Maritime Minister Sharif Cicip Sutarjo Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Pangestu Research and Technology Minister Gusti Hatta

State Intelligence Agency Head Marciano Norman

Deputy Ministers Foreign Affairs Wardana Health Ali Ghufron Mukti Tourism Sapta Nirwandar Education Musliar Kasim Education Wiendu Nuryanti Trade Bayu Krisnamurthi State-Owned Enterprises Mahmuddin Yasin Agriculture Rusman Heriawan State Apparatus Empowerment Eko Prasodjo Energy and Mineral Resources Widjajono Partowidagdo Religious Affairs Nasaruddin Umar Law and Human Rights Denny Indrayana Finance Mahendra Siregar
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