Jakarta (AsiaNews) - For the first time in the political history of the country, a cabinet minister has resigned because of scandals over corruption and shady dealings. Popular anger and media campaigns have forced Sport and Youth Minister Andi Malaranggeng (pictured) to resign. This is a major blow to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Democrat Party (DP). The scandal could actually bring down the government in a country already reeling from many cases of corruption and abuses by public officials.
In a tense press conference, Mr Malaranggeng confirmed his intention of resigning following days of controversy and rumours over a possible investigation into widespread corruption. The scandal is said to implicate other top DP leaders, including former party treasurer Nazaruddin and lawmaker (and former beauty queen) Angeline "Angie" Sondakh.
Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) imposed a travel ban on the now former minister and his younger brother, businessman Zulkarnain "Choel" Malaranggeng, as well as Arif Taufiqrahman, a major real estate developer.
Prosecutors accuse the Malaranggeng brothers of orchestrating a plan to tinker with the tender process in the case of a sports centre, using their privileged position.
Andi Malaranggeng, a former presidential spokesman during Yudhoyono's first term in office (2004-2009), has rejected all the KPK accusations, clamouring for his innocence.
Before he became minister, the former minister was known and appreciated for his analyses of the country's domestic politics. On the basis of this strength, President Yudhoyono brought him into this cabinet. (MH)