At the time of this interview, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja was a member of the Council of Regional Representatives, the highest legislative body in Indonesia. He entered politics and the Golkar party in 1970, rising to become secretary-general of the party. After the fall of the Suharto government in 1998, he was named state minister for administrative reform. In later governments, he served as minister of environment and minister for marine and fisheries.
Council of Regional Representatives
Civil service recruitment
Salary structure reform
Country of Reform:
Date of Interview:
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Sarwono Kusumaatmadja describes the tactics he employed to accomplish political change and governance reform in the many positions he held in Indonesia’s government. In the first part of the interview, he provides frank and revealing insights into the political tactics he used to reduce military influence and achieve party change as secretary-general of the dominant Golkar party before the fall of the Suharto government in 1998. In the second section, he reports on eight priorities he adopted as state minister for administrative reform in the new government: improvement of public services, merit-based appointments, analysis of civil service positions, functional rather than structural job assignments and professionalization of career paths, improved compensation, increased training, manuals for each position, and decentralization (regional autonomy). He describes the political tactics he used to achieve results, particularly in the Civil Service Administration Agency, the Civil Service Training Agency, and the Ministry of Education. In the third part of the interview he reports on the practical tactics and politics he used as minister of the environment to crack down on pollution by businesses with close ties to the president and other political leaders. He describes how he used NGOs, international financial institutions, and pressure from Indonesian clients (including the military) to achieve results. In the fourth section, he describes his role in ending the Suharto government and describes his brief tenure as minister for marine and fisheries. He provides practical and frank accounts of his approach to hiring and firing personnel, as well as his personal views on ethics for public officials.
Sarwono Kusmaatmadja - Full Interview
Nationality of Interviewee:
civilian control of military
high-level political support for reform
politics of reform