JAKARTA, Aug.24 (JDN.id) – Indonesia’s Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham resigned from his ministerial post on Friday after the country’s anti-graft agency declared him a suspect in a graft case.
“I have resigned as social affairs minister and also from Golkar party,” Marham told reporters on Friday after submitting his resignation letter to President Joko Widodo on Friday morning.
He confirmed that Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has changed his legal status to a suspect in a graft case but declined to explain further.
The former Golkar’s secretary general took office in January, replacing Khofifah Indar Parawangsa who resigned for gubernatorial election candidacy in June.
“I must respect the legal process,” Marham said, hoping that the president will soon find his replacement.
“Poverty and disaster issues are urgent (to be handled),” he said.
Marham was questioned by KPK several times as a witness in relation to a bribery case allegation of a Golkar politician, Eni Saragih.
Saragih, the former deputy chairman of commission VII at the House of Representatives that looks after energy issues, was arrested by the anti-graft investigators at Marham’s residence in Jakarta in July.
Saragih was involved in a bribery case for a 600 megawatts coal-fired power plant Riau-1.
The power plant project is under state-utility firm PLN’s subsidiary company Pembangkit Jawa Bali (PJB) dan PLN Batubara. KPK investigators have questioned PJB’s CEO Gunawan Yudi Hariyanto and PLN’s CEO Sofyan Basyir.
Due to the ongoing legal case, the $900 million project is temporarily on hold.
On Friday afternoon, President Widodo inaugurated Golkar politician Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita as the new social affairs minister to replace Marham.
“I accepted Idrus Marham’s resignation letter as he wants to focus on his legal process. I appreciate his knightly action. I have decided to replace him with Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita,” President Widodo told reporters.
He said Kartasasmita’s priority task right now is to handle natural disaster in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.