Indonesia’s new army chief revokes predecessor’s reshuffle

This article is more than 12 months old

In an unprecedented move, the newly installed chief of Indonesia's Armed Forces (TNI) has revoked a major reshuffle involving 32 senior generals his controversial predecessor Gatot Nurmantyo had made before the leadership change.

Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said in a statement yesterday that he made the decision after considering what the TNI needs and the challenges it could face.

MPs urged reporters not to politicise the reversal, with the deputy chairman of Parliament's defence and security committee Hanafi Rais saying: "Such rotations are normal, and we understand it is the military chief's privilege."

However, analysts read the move as aimed at curtailing General Gatot's influence in the TNI, especially as the former chief had reshuffled the top ranks on Dec 4, days before the handover of power to his successor on Dec 8.

Gen Gatot, 57, who assumed the top TNI post in June 2015, is widely believed to harbour political ambitions for the 2019 presidential election, and some of his public actions and remarks had courted controversy. - WAHYUDI SOERIAATMADJA