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Indonesia’s Prabowo mulls bigger Cabinet under his presidency, including one ministry overseeing a free lunch initiative

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Mr Gibran on Tuesday stressed that the Prabowo administration is committed to ensure the effectiveness of the free lunch programme and its impact on school children. He, however, cautioned patience among the public on the issue and whether it will involve the formation of additional ministries. 

Gerindra also did not deny the possibility of a larger Cabinet in the incoming administration with the appointment of additional ministerial portfolios.  

Vice-chairman of Gerindra Mr Habiburokhman said the idea of a larger Cabinet appears reasonable owing to Indonesia being a large country.

“In the context of a country, a large number means big, for me, it’s good, our country is a big country. Our challenges are big, our targets are big,” said Mr Habiburokhman on May 6.

Meanwhile, outgoing President Widodo has remained mum on the issue, except to say that it is a matter to be decided by the incoming president and vice-president. 

“(The question about) the future Cabinet should be asked to the president-elect,” Mr Widodo said on Tuesday while denying rumours that he might have given advice to Mr Prabowo on the issue. 

Speculation surrounding the expanded Cabinet of the upcoming government has drawn concerns from some political figures, including Mr Prabowo’s former rival Anies Baswedan. 

Mr Anies was quoted by CNN Indonesia as saying that any expansion of the Cabinet must adhere to existing laws.

According to the current regulation, the total number of ministries should be capped at 34.

Echoing Mr Anies’s sentiments, former Vice-President Jusuf Kalla also cautioned against the “politicisation” of expanded ministerial positions in the Cabinet. He instead urged for a greater focus to be given on the implementation of government programmes and not in the number of Cabinet positions. 

Mr Jusuf added that as talks of an expanded administration appear to be a largely political move, he hoped that the provision of additional ministerial positions was not only for the purpose of accommodating the interests of Mr Prabowo’s supporters.

“Government’s needs should be the one to dictate ministerial appointments. Don’t be fixated on numbers; give more priority to programmes,” said Mr Yusuf as quoted by Metrotvnews.

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