As we all know that Yudhoyono finally made up his mind and make the announcement just now, and it's barely surprising (the only surprise being he finally have the guts to fire Yusril and Hamid) but its predictable given his penchant for maintaining the public image. Yusril and Hamid has been the lightning rod for a media-driven corruption allegation.
My fellow journalist (a female) was barred from entering Setneg today as Yusril has instructed his staff to bar her entry (the last policy he made during his stint anyway). And when contacted on the phone the only words he (Yusril) was that
"Congratulations, you [journalists] finally managed to bring me down."Yusril was so furious with his dismissal that he declined to meet Yudhoyono when he was required to meet him in the morning. Well, I was wrong for overestimating him and Hamid in our last conversation. It seems that Yusril had finally stumbled this time.
Abdul Rahman Saleh -- one of my favourite officials in Yudhoyono cabinet (simply because he sided with me when my article on ban on communism book was published and he attended a book launch of Ruth Mc Vey's book on Communism held by Jakarta-based publisher Equinox--he also came to the function partly also because of my article) -- reportedly broke down in tears when a letter dismissing him got to his hand.
"What have I done wrong to deserve this" he said.Abdul Rahman dismissal is a little bit of a surprise, especially as his replacement Hendarman Supandji is his confidante. But anyone who know the going-ons in the AGO knew very well that Abdul Rahman is not an effective Attorney General. Some of his policies has been sabotaged by his corrupt underlings to the point when he had to hire his own PR company and brought own lunch from home. Not to mention, regular attacks initiated by the House of Representatives Law Commission (which is no less corrupt). But this morning when he was summoned by Yudhoyono he appeared alright and joked with us about the possibility of accepting new post offered by the President. He also admitted that Yudhoyono showed him the door because of the tremendous pressure exerted upon him. "I lost eight kilograms while I was the Attorney General," he told us.
As for Hamid, as usual he always ran away from us whenever we asked anything and the only consolation that he got from being fired was seeing Nagabonar Jadi 2 at Setibudi One 21 organized by Kalla on Sunday. Some say they expected to see Spiderman 3 but as all poor Spidey fans, no tickets were available.
Syaifullah Yusuf's downfall is a bit tragic. Until Friday night, he was in dark over whether or not he would be fired. When we called him, he just said "Masih Gelap nih" (the expression is better in Bahasa Indonesia). But, I think Syaifullah's position is beyond saving. The United Development Party (in which Syaifullah is now a member) could not get more seats even after losing Sugiharto.
Hatta Radjasa maintained his position thanks to endorsement from PAN (which has become Yudhoyono's lap dog since Amien Rais was toppled and this is what we can get when businessman is in charge of party).
The worst choice however was over Lukman Edy for Minister for Disadvantaged Regions. I mean, who is this guy, judging by his name alone he is not at all convincing and he had no experience beyond the PKB secretary general and working for a construction companies. It seems that PKB can only produced mediocre politicians as ministers (Erman Soeparno is another bad example).
The whole reshuffle thing, however, give us another compelling reason why Yudhoyono in his military career was never in charge of important posts and relegated only to administrative duties. If he was a TNI chief and the country is at war we will be doomed as it will take him more than a month just to decide whether an assault force should be deployed. It took him seven-long months before he finally have the guts to do the cabinet shake-up.