Indonesia’s Jokowi Fires Energy Minister Over Dual Citizenship

  • Indonesian law permits dual citizenship until age 18
  • Minister’s departure undermines Widodo’s cabinet reshuffle

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has dismissed newly-appointed Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arcandra Tahar, citing his possession of dual Indonesian and U.S. citizenship.

Tahar, an oil and gas professional who lived in the U.S. for around 20 years, has been under pressure to resign after it was revealed he possessed a U.S. passport. Tahar was appointed to the post on July 27 to replace Sudirman Said amid an extensive reshuffle implemented by Widodo, also known as Jokowi, aimed at stamping his authority on the government.

Arcandra Tahar. Photographer: Tatan Syuflana/AP Photo

Arcandra Tahar.

Photographer: Tatan Syuflana/AP Photo

“After taking into account information from many sources, the president decided to dismiss Arcandra Tahar from his post,” State Secretary Pratikno said in a televised press statement on MetroTV. The decision will be effective Aug. 16.

Jokowi has appointed Luhut Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs, as acting minister until the appointment of a new energy minister, Pratikno said.

Indonesian law allows citizens to retain dual citizenship until they are married or turn 18, whichever is sooner.

Tahar was not immediately available for comment.

In a statement posted on the Energy Ministry’s website on Sunday, Tahar said he and his wife were both born and raised in Padang.

“However, my study for a masters and doctorate were in America,” said Tahar. “I went to America in 1996, up till now I’m still holding an Indonesian passport and my Indonesian passport is still valid.”

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