Tito Karnavian resigns as Indonesia’s national Police Chief to take up ministerial post

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian waves to journalists as he arrives at the Sate Palace in Central Jakarta on Monday. (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Oct 23, 2019, Jakarta Globe. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has requested early retirement after he was seen among several ministerial candidates interviewed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, an aide said. “[Tito’s resignation] is being processed,” Insp. Gen. Eko Indra Heri, head of the National Police’s human resources division, told the Jakarta Globe.

House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani said separately that the president had requested approval for Tito’s early dismissal.

The president’s letter, dated Monday, would be discussed soon, in accordance with the House’s internal regulations, Puan said in a plenary session on Tuesday.

Puan also said National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Ari Dono Sukmanto had been appointed as acting police chief.

“Mr. Tito will be assigned to another post in the government. The law does not allow [the National Police chief] to double up jobs in the government,” she said.

In 2017, as the political situation heated up and sectarian disputes marred the Jakarta gubernatorial election, Tito said he would need an early retirement for a quieter life.

Tito, who will reach retirement age on Oct. 26, 2022, also said at that time that it would not be good for the National Police if he served more than six years, which would make him the country’s longest-serving police chief.

He was among dozens of ministerial candidates invited to the State Palace in Central Jakarta for interviews with the president on Monday. Thirty candidates have visited the palace over the past two days.

Speculation has it that Tito may be appointed as home affairs minister or bureaucratic reform minister.

In July 2016, mere months after he became the National Police chief, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) was faced with a mass rally involving hundreds of thousands of hardline Muslims demanding the arrest of then-Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on blasphemy charges. Over the next few months, the so-called 212 rally of Dec. 2, 2016, was followed by a series of mass protests in the capital and several other cities that also targeted the president.

Tito was instrumental in the arrest of dozens of Jokowi’s political opponents on treason charges, although most never went on trial.

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