Dynasties in the making

Posted on April 13, 2011


Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post | Wed, 04/13/2011 8:00 AM | Expose

Daddy’s and mommy’s big name coupled with inherited wealth and traces of attractiveness are probably the best assets for children of the political elites in vying for the country’s future leadership in the next five or 10 years. The Jakarta Post’s Hasyim Widhiarto explores how children of political powerhouses gear up to take the stage. Here are the stories:

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s eldest son Capt. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, 32, recently finished a course at the prestigious Fort Benning Infantry School, the US, and graduated with flying colors.

Also recently, the eldest son of powerful Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, Anindya Bakrie, 36, leveraged his father’s clout at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), a powerful business lobby propelled primarily by Golkar supporters and the Bakries. Golkar is the second largest party after Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party.

Anindya recently chaired Kadin’s steering committee for the group’s national meeting, besides spearheading the family’s expansion in telecommunication and mass media businesses.

The eldest daughter of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, Puan Maharani, 37, is also increasingly playing a more influential role in the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) — a party known to hoist the symbols and teachings of Puan’s grandfather, former first president Sukarno.

Puan, who leads the party’s faction at the House of Representatives, was recently granted by her father and mother a greater say in the decision on a proposal from Yudhoyono’s camp to include PDI-P, the country’s third largest party, in the ruling coalition. She eventually rejected the proposal.

While India has the Ghandis and the United States the Kennedys and the Bushes, Indonesia as the world’s third biggest democracy, also sees the possibility of an emergence of numerous political dynasties.

While these children of the political elites are unlikely to play major roles in the upcoming 2014 elections, analysts predict that they may dominate the political sphere in the next five to 10 years.

For now, their parents are well engaged in grooming their crown princes and princesses.

Agus Yudhoyono, for example, has enjoyed many privileges in the military even without having had any major combat experience.

Unlike most officers of his age and rank who have to bear the hardship of tours of duty in remote and conflict-prone areas across the archipelago, Agus has spent most of his military career at school.

In less than six years, Agus has already secured two master’s degrees: one from the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and the other from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

A month after graduating from Harvard, Agus flew back to the US with his family in August to enroll in the seven-month military course at Fort Benning, and graduated in early March. Agus is now stationed not far from his folks’ place as an officer with the Defense Ministry’s directorate general of defense strategies.

Although Agus’ little brother Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro is the Democratic Party’s secretary-general and a legislator, analysts have voiced doubt that he will become the family’s future flag bearer due to his unconvincing appearance and capabilities. Despite his strategic position in the party, Ibas, however, has rarely attended House hearings, or party meetings.

Unlike Yudhoyono who seems to put up no barriers when it comes to privileges for his children, Aburizal has granted Anindya great responsibility in steering the course of the family’s business but with some challenges.

Referred to as the Bakrie’s future chief patron, Anindya is currently betting his credentials on pursuing the protracted merger of Bakrie Telecom (BTEL) with a unit of state-run telecommunication company PT Telkom. Although Telkom last year agreed to a certain degree to the merger of its Telkom Flexi with BTEL, no progress has been seen on the deal.

Anindya has also increasingly appeared at numerous public events, with the latest one being a speech he made before Yudhoyono, ministers and noted business leaders during Kadin’s national meeting in early April.

He has also appeared as a guest lecturer at several universities, talking about entrepreneurship, small businesses and telecommunication.

Aside from strengthening his presence at home, Anindya has also gone international by attending numerous high-profile summits, and furthering his Southeast Asian studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

“Anindya focuses more on growing the family’s businesses. He has no interest thus far in politics as he is not canny enough,” said family spokesman Lalu Mara Satriawangsa late last year.

Another elite’s son clawing his way into becoming the family’s flag bearer is Aryo Djojohadikusumo, 27, the eldest son of Hashim Djojohadikusumo, one of the country’s richest tycoons and key financier for the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) since its founding in 2008.

Aryo’s uncle is Maj. Gen. (ret.) Prabowo Subianto, the party’s patron chief, who is expected to run in the 2014 presidential election.

Aryo, chairman of Gerindra’s youth wing Tunas Indonesia Raya (Tidar), said his encounter with politics was rather “accidental”.

“When my father and my uncle set up the party, they had problems in recruiting people. That’s why they ended up asking family members to fill some of the party’s positions,” he said.

In August 2008, after spending 12 years studying in the United Kingdom, Aryo returned to Indonesia and was assigned to lead Tidar — Gerindra’s youth wing.

Many consider Aryo the future flag bearer of the Djojohadikusumo family both in business and politics as Prabowo’s only child, Didit Hediprasetyo, has decided to pursue a career in fashion design.

“My grandfather [legendary economics minister Soemitro Djojohadikusumo] was once a politician, as is my uncle now. I think it’s normal to see other family members taking a similar path,” Aryo said.

Other children of influential political leaders jumping into politics include National Mandate Party (PAN) legislator Ahmad Mumtaz Rais, 27, who is the son of the 1998 Reform Movement icon and PAN chief patron Amien Rais; and chairwoman of the splinter group of the National Awakening Party (PKB) Yenny Wahid, the daughter of the late former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid. Dave Akbarsyah Laksono, the son of Golkar deputy chairman and Coordinating Public Welfare Minister Agung Laksono, is trying his luck in politics as chairman of the Golkar Party’s youth wing — the Indonesian Youth Reform Force.

National University political observer Alfan Alfian believes there is nothing wrong with the children of the senior politicians pursuing careers in politics, but strongly urges them to be “outspoken” and critical politicians who do not only stand behind their parent’s “big name”.

“The essence of becoming a politician is to speak out for public aspirations. These children could secure their legislative seats easily during elections, but could they contribute anything significant?”

University of Indonesia political communication expert Bachtiar Aly echoed Alfan’s view, saying these future leaders would someday face the inevitable “natural selection” mechanism despite their families’ big names.

“A party must ensure that their young leaders are mature and capable enough before giving them certain strategic posts,” he said.

“It is true that their family name could become an everlasting benefit for these young politicians. But in the end, people will consider their leadership track record before voting for them.”


Heirs to the throne

Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post | Wed, 04/13/2011 8:00 AM | Expose

Capt. Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono

Place/date of birth: Bandung, West Java, Aug. 10, 1978

Current position: Official at the Defense Ministry directorate general of defense strategy North America desk.

Religion: Islam (moderate)


– Taruna Nusantara High School, Magelang, Central Java (1997)

– Magelang Military Academy, Central Java (2000)

– Masters degree in Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2006)

– Masters degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, United States (2010)

– Maneuver Captain Career Course (MCCC) at Fort Benning, United States (20-week course). The course prepares officers for company commands and posts as staff officers at battalion and brigade levels.

Marital status: Married, one child.

Notes: Known widely as the crown prince of the Yudhoyono and Wibowo (the family of First Lady Kristiani Herawati, who is the daughter of legendary Gen. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo) clans, Agus has enjoyed numerous privileges during his career in the military, including exclusions from posts in conflict areas in Indonesia. Agus is President Yudhoyono’s eldest child.

Puan Maharani

Place/date of birth: Jakarta, Sept. 6, 1973

Current position: Head of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction in the House of Representatives (since 2011); PDI-P political and external relations department head (2010 – 2015).

Education: Bachelor in Communication Studies from University of Indonesia (graduated in 1997).

Religion: Islam (moderate)

Marital status: Married with two children

Notes: Puan is the daughter of former president and PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri (the daughter of first president Sukarno), and has been considered the future successor of the Sukarno political dynasty.

From her first marriage, Megawati has two sons. Puan is her daughter from her third marriage with Taufiq Kiemas, now speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly.

Puan began her “official” political apprenticeship in the early 2000s as personal assistant to Megawati during her presidency. Appointed later as a party executive, Puan actively campaigned for her mother during the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections.

She secured a seat in the House of Representatives in 2009 and was recently appointed head of the PDI-P House faction. With her strategic positions both at the House and within the party, Puan represents the party in all strategic negotiations, including the latest discussions with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over the possibility of the PDI-P joining his Democratic Party-led coalition.

Aryo Djojohadikusumo

Place/date of birth: Jakarta, April 25, 1983.

Current position: Head of Tunas Indonesia Raya (Tidar) (2011 – 2016), the youth wing of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) founded by Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo and his younger brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who is Aryo’s father. Aryo also acts as a Gerindra deputy secretary-general. In business, Aryo is PT Arsari Pratama commissioner and PT Karunia Tidar Abadi president director.

Religion: Christian Protestant

Education: The University of Durham, the UK (2001 – 2004), and the School of Oriental & African Studies, the University of London, the UK (2006-2008).

Marital status: Single

Notes: Aryo is the eldest son of businessman Hashim. Upon returning to Indonesia in 2008, Aryo was assigned to lead Tidar during Prabowo’s vice presidential bid in the 2009 elections.

Aryo is currently considered the future chief patron of the influential Djojohadikusumo family. Aryo’s great grandfather, Margono Djojohadikusumo, was the founder of state-owned Bank Negara Indonesia, while his grandfather, Soemitro Djojohadikusumo, was the country’s economic guru during Sukarno’s era and Soeharto’s New Order.

Anindya Novyan Bakrie

Place/date of birth: Jakarta, Nov. 10, 1974

Current position: President director of PT Bakrie Telecom (since 2003); president director of PT Visi Media Asia (since 2008); Chairman of Viva Media Group; Indonesian Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (Kadin) vice chairman of organization, membership, regional empowerment and corporate governance (2010-2015); chairman of Bakrie Center Foundation (since 2010)

Religion: Islam (moderate)


– Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University, United States

– Master of Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business, United States

Marital status: Married with three children

Notes: Anindya is the eldest child of businessman Aburizal Bakrie, the Golkar Party chairman and chief patron of the Bakrie family. Anindya became involved in the family business in 1999 when he was asked to help manage PT Bakrie & Brothers as deputy chief operating officer and as a director. Anindya, touted to become the future chief patron of the family, is building his credentials at home and overseas and currently has no appetite to engage in politics.

Ahmadi Mumtaz Raiz

Place/date of birth: Yogyakarta, Sept. 17, 1983

Current position: Deputy Treasurer of the Yogyakarta branch of the National Mandate Party’s (PAN) Youth Alliance (2006-2008); Deputy Secretary of the PAN faction in the House of Representatives (since 2009), member of House’s Commission VI for trade, industry and state companies.

Religion: Islam (Muhammadiyah)

Education: Bachelor in Economics from Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (graduated in 2008)

Marital status: Single

Notes: Mumtaz is the second son of 1998 Reform movement icon and PAN founder Amien Rais. After graduating from Gadjah Mada University, Mumtaz made his way to the House of Representatives in 2009 from Central Java’s eighth district. At 27 years old, he is PAN’s youngest lawmaker.

Aside from Mumtaz, Amien’s eldest son, Hanafi Rais, recently plunged into politics by running for Yogyakarta mayor in the upcoming elections to be held in September. Hanafi showed a lesser interest in politics compared to Mumtaz when he turned down his father’s request to manage the PAN and to become legislator along with Mumtaz during the 2009 general election.

Zannuba “Yenny” Ariffah Chafsoh Rahman Wahid

Place/date of birth: Jombang, East Java, Oct. 29. 1974

Current position: Head of the National Awakening Party (PKB) splinter group. The PKB party was founded by Yenny’s father — Indonesia’s third president, the late Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid — but was taken over by Gus Dur’s nephew Muhaimin Iskandar, who is now manpower and transmigration minister. Yenni is also the director of the Wahid Institute (since 2003), a think tank engaged in pluralism and democracy issues.

Religion: Islam (Nahdlatul Ulama)

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications from Trisakti University, Jakarta; Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, United States.

Marital status: Married with one daughter

Notes: Yenny is Gus Dur’s second daughter and is currently considered one of the most prominent women in Indonesian politics.

Her political career started in 1999 when she worked as personal assistant for his father in the presidential office in charge of several duties, including managing the president’s international travel and press relations.

Yenny has said she is now preparing a political party grouping of politicians who have splintered from the PKB.


Open door for children of the political elite

Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post | Wed, 04/13/2011 8:00 AM | Expose

The scions of Indonesia’s political elite are born with silver spoons in their mouths — something which smooths the way when the children of senior party members enter politics.

Hanafi Rais, the eldest son of reform icon and National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais, is one of those lucky few.

The 30-year-old spends most of his time as lecturer and researcher at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University.

Politics was not Hanafi’s forte until he agreed late last year to run for mayor of Yogyakarta in September’s election.

Hanafi’s candidacy is supported by none other than his daddy’s party, PAN, and is likely to be financed by PAN loyalists and businessmen close to the party, of which Amien is now the chief patron.

PAN chairman and (coordinating minister for the economy) Hatta Rajasa said Hanafi’s candidacy developed after a swell of requests from PAN members and supporters.

“Pak Amien has not forced us to support Hanafi. It was the demand of the party’s members to have him as our pick in the upcoming mayoral election,” Hatta said on the sidelines of ASEAN’s 15th annual Finance Ministers Meeting in Bali on Friday.

“Hanafi’s credentials, which show a lack of political experience, will not be a handicap in managing Yogyakarta,” he said.

Hanafi’s candidacy is also supported by the Golkar Party.

His selection as PAN’s candidate became mired in controversy after incumbent Yogyakarta mayor Herry Zudianto — also a PAN member — refused to back Hanafi.

Herry, who cannot run for a third term due to term limits, initially supported his deputy, Haryadi Suyuti, in the mayoral race.

However, PAN leaders forced Herry, who has been widely praised by Yogyakartans for his successful management of the city, to shift his support to Hanafi, who has no prior experience in politics nor in managing a bureaucracy.

Similarly, Edhie “Ibas” Baskoro Yudhoyono, the son of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the founder of the Democratic Party, was appointed the party’s secretary-general without any sweat.

Critics said the appointment was made to ensure that members of the President’s family were onboard, rather to ensure that a qualified politician was appointed to the job.

Observers said that party chairman Anas Urbaningrum’s appointed Ibas as secretary-general as a concession to Yudhoyono, who backed Anas’ rival, former presidential spokesman (and current Youth and Sports Minister) Andi Mallarangeng, in the Democratic Party’s chairman election last year.

Despite his strategic position within the party, Ibas, also a legislator, has been rarely seen attending meetings or hearings at the House of Representatives.

Roy Suryo, a Democratic Party legislator and Ibas’ colleague on House’s Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and communications, said last month that Ibas had been assigned by the party to focus on defense issues and would only show up when the commission discussed that subject.

However, Ibas was nowhere to be found when the commission held a hearing on the future of the Indonesian defense industry late last month, which was attended by, among other people, the National Police chief, the Army Chief of Staff, the defense minister and research and technology minister.

According to a source in the De-mocratic Party, who declined to be named, several party members felt that Ibas’ lack of seriousness has led to legislator Saan Mustopa, Anas’s close associate, to assume much of the work of the secretary-general.

“Saan is actually our real secretary-general,” the source said.

The Jakarta Post was unable to reach Ibas for comment. But Roy Suryo said that Ibas’ tenure as the party’s secretary-general had created stability within the party.

“I believe Mas Ibas has learned a lot of things from his role as the party’s second-in-command,” said Roy.

Posted in: Politik