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Indonesian cabinet reshuffled amid COVID-19 crisis

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Indonesia’s president on Wednesday appointed the mayor of a major city and a businessman to replace two former government ministers ousted in an ongoing graft investigation.

President Joko Widodo assigned Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini as social affairs minister, replacing Juliari Batubara, who was named a suspect in the probe involving the distribution of social aid amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He also appointed businessman Sakti Wahyu Trenggono as minister of maritime affairs and fisheries to replace Edhy Prabowo jailed in another corruption case.

Widodo also replaced “controversial” Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto, a military radiologist and former personal doctor to the president’s deceased mother, for allegedly being unable to adequately handle the pandemic, appointing instead Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the deputy state-owned enterprises minister.

The president replaced the ministers of religious, tourism, and trade affairs.

Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi, was replaced by Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization’s leader, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas.

Muhammad Luthfi, a former ambassador to the US, was appointed as minister of trade, replacing Agus Suparmanto, while business tycoon Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno became minister of tourism and creative economy.

Sandiaga was elected along with Anies Baswedan in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election after defeating incumbent pair Basuki Tjahaja Purnama also known as Ahok and Djarot Saiful Hidayat.

He resigned from office to be the running mate of current Defense Minster Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 presidential elections.

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