Let's Not Whitewash The Indonesian Cabinet

I was surprised by your coverage of Indonesia's recent cabinet reshuffle in "Indonesia's new lineup" (International Outlook, Sept. 4). You wrote that the new cabinet was "welcomed by analysts and investors as a good first step." If that were true, why did the local stock market and currency, the rupiah, each lose more than 4% on the day the new cabinet was announced?

You also wrote that the "promising new cabinet" largely resulted from a "compromise deal" between President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri. But if such a compromise emerged, why did no members of the Vice-President's party, the PDI-P, receive key cabinet positions? And why did Megawati refuse to even be in the same room with President Wahid when he announced the new cabinet members? He had to provide excuses, saying she had gone to have a bath.

Rebecca Patterson

J.P. Morgan


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