“I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.”
– Albert Camus
State Secretary Pratikno announced during a press conference yesterday that.President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has discharged Arcandra Tahar from his post as Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources with effect from today.
The announcement came after rumours circulated over the past two days that Arcandra holds United States citizenship, which under law automatically cancels his Indonesian citizenship.
Except, under American citizenship laws, and those of several other countries, dual, or multiple, citizenship is permissible.
Arcandra Tahar was recruited because his experience in America was deemed suitable. That is an implication that the government feels that similar expertise is lacking here. It is not for most of us to judge. But the executive director at energy and mining think-tank ReforMiner Institute, Komaidi Notonegoro has. He said: “The president’s decision was right. We have to revise two strategic laws – the mining law and oil and gas law. We cannot afford a prolonged and unnecessary commotion in the cabinet.”
Make that three laws that need to be changed. Indonesia does not recognize dual citizenship and a citizen must give up his or her Indonesian citizenship should he or she be granted citizenship in another country.
It also doesn’t recognise the rights of a 16 year old girl who was born here, has attended school here since kindergarten, so considers herself to be 100% Indonesian. Her problem, one that has caused her to be left out of tomorrow’s ‘Independence Day’ flag raising ceremony at Jokowi’s palace because her father is French.
A change in the citizenship law to allow dual nationality was first mooted some ten years or so ago. Let’s hope that these two cases will spur parliament to actually complete its considerations and enact the right and proper legislation.
One last thing: tomorrow is the day for flying the Indonesian flag. Please don’t turn up to your street party wearing a T-shirt like this.
That’s my flag!