Indonesian president Joko Widodo shakes hands with his ministers

Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s new president, revealed a solid if underwhelming cabinet on Sunday, combining respected technocrats, businesspeople and political party hacks.

It is reflective of his cautious nature and the political compromises he must make but some investors, who had built up Mr Widodo as Indonesia’s Modi, are disappointed.

The Jakarta stock exchange was down 0.6 per cent at lunchtime on Monday, while the rupiah edged up against the greenback.

However, there are some interesting choices among the 34 ministers. Here are five cabinet members worth watching, for better and worse.

Bambang Brodjonegoro – finance minister

Formerly the deputy finance minister, Mr Brodjonegoro is a strong pick in a role that foreign investors believe is crucial for economic development at a time when growth is at a five-year low.

He studied and taught at the economics faculty of the University of Indonesia, which produced previous reforming finance ministers such as Chatib Basri and Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

The 48-year-old, who has a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has spoken out in support of cutting the $21bn fuel subsidy bill and promoting Indonesia as a global manufacturing base.

Ignasius Jonan – transport minister

A maverick, Mr Jonan turned round Indonesia’s long mismanaged national rail company as chief executive over the past five years.

Whether sleeping on trains, spending weekends lecturing station managers or screaming at ungrateful customers, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the job.

His appointment will strike fear into malingering bureaucrats at the transport ministry, which plays a vital role in key industries such as air and sea travel.

Formerly an investment banker at Citigroup, the 51-year-old opposes government subsidies and could be a rare voice in government for competition and the private sector.

Susi Pudjiastuti – minister for fisheries and maritime affairs

The only cabinet minister who did not graduate from high school, Ms Pudjiastuti is an unconventional self-made entrepreneur who built successful fishery and airline businesses from scratch.

One of eight women in the cabinet – a record for Indonesia – the 49-year-old famously threatened to quit her airline, Susi Air, after breaking down during a press conference in 2012 following a series of fatal crashes.

After she was named a minister on Sunday at the presidential palace, she kicked off her high heels, sat on the lawn and refused to answer journalists’ questions until she had finished a cigarette.

One of Mr Widodo’s main missions is to revive Indonesia’s historical reputation as a great maritime nation and promote the fisheries industry, so Ms Pudjiastuti is a key appointment.

Anies Baswedan – primary and secondary education minister

Education is another one of Mr Widodo’s priorities and no wonder, when Indonesia performs poorly on global school performance rankings.

Mr Baswedan is the dean of a private university and an activist who set up “Indonesia Mengajar”, an organisation that sends fresh graduates to teach for a few years at schools in remote and deprived areas, much like the Teach for America scheme in the US or the UK’s Teach First.

A passionate advocate for education, he attracted the support of many young voters when he ran (unsuccessfully) to be the presidential candidate for former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’’s Democrat party earlier this year.

The 45-year-old will face a tough battle to change Indonesia’s recalcitrant education bureaucracy but it is an important fight for the country’s future.

Ryamizard Ryacudu – minister of defence

The nationalistic head of the army under president Megawati Sukarnoputri, Mr Ryacudu’s appointment has been attacked by human rights campaigners as the cabinet’s most problematic.

They have criticised his stringent crackdown on the separatist movement in Aceh, during which he told Time magazine in 2003 that the military’s job was to crush the rebels rather than worry about “justice, religion, autonomy, social welfare, education”.

Diplomats from the US, an important partner for Indonesia’s military, said in 2004 that he had a “reputation for making irresponsible ultranationalist comments”, according to cables released by WikiLeaks.

Defence analysts are nervous about how the 64-year-old will perform as Indonesia faces big challenges from jihadi fighters returning from Syria and Iraq to an ever more assertive China.

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