Most Powerfull Woman in Indonesia

Guys lets give our salute to minister of finance Sri Mulyani, she has been tough during this crisis and even did not have time to mourn when her mother passed away.  Below are quotes about Sri Mulyani ,

Editorial: The burning seat

Thu, 10/23/2008 11:04 AM  |  Opinion

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has been sitting in the hot seat for some time now, and now her seat has now gone from hot to burning since businesspeople and politicians with vested interests have been making attempts to unseat her. We earnestly hope she will survive this saga.

The imbroglio, we suspect, is related to what has been going on in the financial market, especially to the Bakrie Group. Many believe Bakrie is now in a make-or-break situation as it struggles to meet huge obligations to its creditors who hold shares in its subsidiary companies as collateral.

Now that the value of this collateral has dropped significantly, Bakrie is trying to sell off its assets to repay $1.2 billion worth of debts that will mature between the end of this year and early next year.

As the situation worsens, the Bakrie Group, controlled by the family of Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, may make a desperate attempt to get President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to bail them out using either state money or funds from state companies.

It seems that most cabinet ministers and even Vice President Jusuf Kalla have made no objections to such a move. But Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, who holds the key to the state coffers, differs and even resists a move that smacks of a raw deal.

We are concerned whether Sri Mulyani will be able to maintain her strong stance in the face of mounting pressure from various quarters. Because of her persistent anti-graft reform drive at the ministry, she has established more enemies than anyone else in her position previously.

Her reform of the customs office at Indonesia’s largest port, Tanjung Priok, has cost certain businesspeople dearly. Those who once took an easy route by bribing customs officials to get their goods out of the customs area quickly (often by smuggling or under-invoicing imports), now find it much tougher to slip through.

Worse, several parties now claim that customs officials who were dissatisfied with Mulyani’s work have intentionally slowed their pace of work. This development has impacted honest businesspeople who must bear higher capital costs because of the slowed movement of their goods. So now both kinds of businesspeople have a reason to dislike her.

Mulyani’s anti-graft reforms at the tax office have also taken their toll. One good example is the much-publicized zealous efforts of the tax office to uncover the suspected tax evasion of a palm oil company belonging to Raja Garuda Mas Group, controlled by powerful businessman Sukanto Tanoto.

Mulyani has also engaged in confrontations with certain coal producers, asking the immigration office to impose travel bans on businesspeople with coal interests who owed the state unpaid royalties and taxes. One such coal company belongs to the Bakrie Group.

But Mulyani had clashed with the Bakrie Group before this, when, through the Capital Market Supervisory Agency, she rejected a plan by Bakrie’s oil and gas entity, Energi Mega Persada, to spin-off Lapindo Brantas (which had created massive problems in Sidoarjo resulting from an uncontrolled mudflow that is believed to have resulted from Lapindo drilling activities there). This case was finally resolved, with Energi allowed to sell Lapindo to wash its hands of an uncertain future liability.

And now, Mulyani is clashing with Bakrie again. This time, however the clash looks to be protracted, as Bakrie is in a do-or-die situation where it needs to attract buyers or get help from the state or it will face bankruptcy or hostile takeover. Mulyani has said if companies must go bust, then let them be. After all, it is their fault, and why should the government come to rescue them.

Because of her persistence in protecting the state budget from abuse, Mulyani’s enemies have launched a covert operation to unseat her. In the public domain, concerted efforts have been made to discredit Mulyani — claiming she is “un-nationalistic” for her unwillingness to help out local indigenous businesspeople. Some of these people have even accused her of being a running dog for the International Monetary Fund, where she once served as an executive director.

On the contrary, by acting firmly to clean up the customs and tax offices, by penalizing corrupt businesspeople and by acting firmly to defend the state budget from abuse, we can see Mulyani is in fact more nationalistic than those who have attempted to discredit her.

The current political situation may present itself to President Yudhoyono as a big dilemma: whether to help his business friends, or to side with the impeccable and respected finance minister. But the choice is really clear.

Unseating Sri Mulyani

Sat, 10/25/2008 12:59 PM  |  Opinion

I am not surprised that (Finance Minister) Sri Mulyani’s job is in jeopardy. She is a formidable figure and a no-nonsense woman and her fearless stance in making tough decisions necessary to improve Indonesia’s economic and financial situation has made her many enemies among Indonesia’s prominent businessmen.

Indonesian businessmen have been pampered excessively for much too long by previous administrations in return for kickbacks. Those involved in violations in the mining sector, customs and excise and the tax sector are understandably teeming up with businessmen who have been seriously hurt and have recently lost billions of dollars due to the collapse of global stock markets. All of them are facing serious financial problems due to Sri Mulyani’s cutthroat measures.

It is not surprising that they seek her downfall. The greed of prominent businessmen knows no bounds and they take all sorts of business-risks detrimental not only to themselves but also to the environment, the nation and its population. Just look at the ecological disaster in East Jawa caused by Lapindo Brantas, where continuous mudflow has caused millions of people to lose their jobs, their homes and tenable land.

It has also destroyed infrastructure in East Java. The majority of Indonesians are so fed-up with these unscrupulous businessmen and they are therefore fully supporting Sri Mulyani.

LYNNA VAN DER ZEE-OEHMKE
Bogor, West Jawa



Fire Sri Mulyani at your own peril, Mr President!

Perspektif Online
22 October 2008

The Jakarta Post reports the latest episode in the desperate attempts by Bakrie Brothers to drag President SBY to use state funds to bail them out. As Mulyani resists these criminal acts, now vested interests are launching a covert attempt to replace Finance Minister Sri Mulyani. It follows her moves to guard the state finances from abuse and clamp down on violators supporting Bakrie. Businessmen and politicians are trying to discredit Sri Mulyani, recognized as one of the most capable Finance Minsters in the World, by questioning her nationalism.

Nothing could be further from the truth as her opponents all have records of abuse of power and vested business interests. She is the true nationalist, in sharp contrast to those who espouse nationalist jargon for selfish interests.

Distinguished economist Faisal Basri blamed certain parties, inconvenienced by Sri Mulyani’s moves to deal with the financial meltdown, as the main sponsors of the effort. “There are some politicians who suffered losses from the havoc in the stock market,” Faisal Basri said.

The President has to choose between his Finance Minister of impeccable record and his Coordinating Minister who uses his government position for private business interest. Basically he has to choose between his conscience and expediency to secure political funds from Suharto-style cronyism. The wrong choice will destroy SBY’s credibility and indeed, damage Indonesia ‘s reputation.

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Efforts seen to unseat Sri Mulyani

Sources
Rendi A. Witular and Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post

Jakarta |  Wed, 10/22/2008 10:53 AM  |  Headlines

Vested interests are launching a covert attempt to replace Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati following her stern moves to guard the state budget from abuse and clamp down on violators, sources say.

Efforts to topple the “iron lady” intensified after she turned down requests from a major conglomerate for government assistance in saving its business empire in the wake of the global financial meltdown, sources said.

“Speculation has been rife for the past two or three weeks. I think the political motive is bigger than those of the economy, with the market showing confidence in the minister,” said Andi Rahmat, a member of the House of Representatives’ Commission XI, which oversees financial affairs, on Tuesday.

Andi said a possible replacement for Mulyani, proposed by the vested interest, was Darmin Nasution, the Finance Ministry’s director general of taxation.

“It’s going to be a very risky move by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to replace Mulyani at a time when a figure like her is badly needed to shield Indonesia from the impact of the global downturn,” he said.

Finance Ministry sources and some businessmen said one of the moves being made to discredit Mulyani was to promote an image of her as lacking nationalism, a sentiment widely touted since her appointment as minister back in 2004.

Mulyani’s previous post as an executive at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been used by her opponents to question her nationalism following criticism over the agency’s poor performance in helping the country survive the late-1997 Asian financial crisis.

Economist Faisal Basri, Mulyani’s close friend and former colleague at the University of Indonesia, blamed certain parties, inconvenienced by Mulyani’s moves to deal with the financial meltdown, as the main sponsors of the efforts.

“There are some politicians who suffered losses from the havoc in the stock market. Besides, knowing Mulyani well, it is not her ‘style’ to take a policy of suddenly closing down the stock market,” he said.

Faisal added it was unlikely Mulyani would be replaced by Darmin — a close confidant of hers and a mentor during her time at the University of Indonesia .

Ministry sources say businessmen involved in violations in the mining sector, the customs and excise business, and the tax sector were among those teaming up with businessmen who recently got burned in the stock market and could not recover their losses.

Mulyani has been praised for her efforts in reforming the once corruption-infested customs and tax offices, including refusing to allow 10 helicopters belonging to a firm linked to Vice President Jusuf Kalla to pass through customs before paying duties.

Her courage was on show again when she ordered state-run Bank Mandiri to transfer disputed funds worth Rp 1.23 trillion (US$ 126 million) from Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, son of the late former president Soeharto, to the state account for development use.

However, her latest move in refusing to help a politically wired business group has ignited a backlash of rage which may cost her her job unless Yudhoyono ensures Mulyani remains in her post until his administration ends.

Finance Ministry spokesman Samsuar Said said the “cost will be too expensive for the Cabinet” if Mulyani leaves before the current administration ends its term next year.

“Use common sense. What is the motive in this kind of situation for unseating her?” he said.

Economist Pande Raja Silalahi said some businessmen were likely offended by Mulyani’s statement during a recent speech at the office of the powerful lobby group the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).

“I am the Finance Minister, my job is to protect the state fund. Companies have a job to protect their own financial affairs. If they fail, it is their fault and they deserve to go bust,” said Pande, quoting Mulyani.

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