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Deliver or go, Jokowi warns his ministers

WARNING: Mr Joko says his


    Jul 24, 2014

    Deliver or go, Jokowi warns his ministers


    INDONESIA'S president-elect, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, promised to make life simpler for investors by beefing up the country's threadbare infrastructure, untangling near-impenetrable regulations and sacking his ministers if they were not up to the job.

    The Elections Commission announced on Tuesday that the Jakarta governor had won the hard-fought July 9 election by just over six percentage points, although his rival, Prabowo Subianto, plans to challenge the result in the Constitutional Court.

    "We need to get our economy growing. To do that, we must have more investment and deliver in terms of infrastructure," Mr Joko told Reuters in an interview on Saturday, given on the condition that it not be published until after he was officially named winner.He is the first businessman to become president of Indonesia. All six of its previous leaders came from the political elite.

    His simple, direct approach and success in cutting through red tape appealed to ordinary voters. And investors have been pushing up share prices on expectations that he would become leader of the world's third-largest democracy and home to its biggest Muslim population.

    Mr Joko, in bare feet and dressed in white shirt and dark trousers, made it clear that he understood that his presidential honeymoon could be brief.

    There is little in the state coffers to address pressing problems from declining economic growth to rising poverty. But he has shown talent for finding money in the Budget and has come down hard on officials who do not perform. That, he said, is a policy he will take to the presidential office.

    "If (ministers don't succeed), there are more than a thousand other good people in Indonesia to replace them. I can cut and then replace them. It's very simple for me," he said.

    "They have to be clean, they have to be competent, they have to have good leadership (skills) and a commitment to serve the people."

    He has faced accusations, which he denies, that he will be under the thumb of the chief of the party that supports him, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri.

    He repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that he would not trade Cabinet jobs for political support. But in the interview, he acknowledged for the first time that around 20 per cent of his Cabinet would likely be political appointments from parties that backed him.

    The threat of being fired is an unusual risk for ministers. For years, the biggest threat most Cabinet members have faced is a reshuffle to a less significant role.

    One finance minister was forced to resign three years ago because, in the view of many analysts, she was a little too effective in tackling the rampant graft that has so long weighed down South-east Asia's biggest economy.