Long before known as Indonesia’s Vice President, Jusuf Kalla has built up a reputation as a shrewd businessman, expanding his family business empire from a humble textile company into its present state, with interests ranging from car distributor to power plant,
Having served as Indonesia’s Vice President twice, the first took place in 2004-2009 period under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Jusuf Kalla is now challenging a provision in the 2017 election law that limits Presidential or Vice Presidential seat to be served for only two terms. Kalla, with the aide from the United Indonesia Party, seeks a clarification whether the provision only works if the office is served within two consecutive period or also applicable in his case.
If the Constitutional court decide to agree on the Jufuf Kalla and the United Indonesia Party ‘s petition , it will pave the way for Jusuf Kalla to be oko Widodo’s running mate in 2019 Election.
Jusuf Kalla’s move is seen by many as a symbol of Indonesia’s business eliteto have a say in the next government , considering that Indonesia ‘s lucrative infrastructure project currently have been dominated by the state owned companies and with only portion left to be fight among the private sector.
Jusuf Kalla is a well connected bussinessman and politician with long history of network in Indonesia business elite grouping under Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (Kadin ). He served as the chairman of South Sulawesi ‘s chapter of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce from 1985 -1997 and The chairman of Board of Advisors of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce from 1997 -2002.
Kalla’s business foot prints can be traced back to his family business Kalla Group. Kalla Group was established by his father Haji Kalla who started a textile business in his hometown Watampone in 1950’s . The textile business ran well that force the family to look for expansion and moved to the capital city of the South Sulawesi province , Makassar . In Makassar, Haji Kalla established NV Hadji Kalla Trading Company that focused on logistic and transportation business that carried natural products from Bone to Makassar.
In 1967, Haji Kalla decided to leave his business to his second son Jusuf Kalla who then established a construction company PT Bumi Karsa. In 1969, the Kalla Group entered into automotive business by starting to import cars from Japanese car maker Toyota. The business proved to be lucrative for the family business, with the group was appointed as the sole car distributor for Eastern part of Indonesia by Astra International. In an interview with Indonesian media in 2014, one of the member of Kalla family said that this automotive business is a gold mine and has a pivotal role in the next long journey of the family ‘s business expansion.
Under the leadership of Jusuf Kalla, the Kalla Group expanded into automotive, industry, heavy equipment, energy ,etc. In 1970’s Kalla Group established PT Makassar Raya Motor that sells Daihatsu cars in almost all provinces in Sulawesi.And in 1980’s the Group entered into asphalt business through PT Bumi Sarana Utama and transportation /logistic business through PT Jelajah Laut Nusantara.
The 1990’s was another pivotal period for the family business, expanding to property and real estate ‘s business . Kalla Group established PT Baruga Asrinusa Development and Sahid Makassar Persada . Both companies developed housing complex and big hotels in Makassar. The group also built the biggest shopping mall in Eastern Indonsia Mal Ratu Indah.
In 1999, Fatimah Kalla, a sister of Jusuf Kalla, took over his position as the CEO of the group after Jusuf Kalla joint Abdurahman Wahid as Indonesia’s Trade and Industry minister.
In 2000’s following the bright political carrier of Jusuf Kalla as ministers and Indonesia vice president , the family business develop into one of Indonesia native conglomerate under Bukaka Group that include many sectors, extending from trading into energy, construction, property, transportation, agroindustry and even telecommunications. What helped make the name of Bukaka well-known was its manufacturing of airbridges, to connect airports with airplanes.
However, Bukaka was also accused of corruption, collusion and nepotism. In 2000, the then president, Abdurrahman Wahid, requested that Bukaka’s winning of the Central Java to West Java transmission development project be canceled. This resulted in Bukaka losing a project worth US$75 million.
In October 2004, Jusuf Kalla was elected as Vice President and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as President. He gave up all his positions as number one in the Kalla Group. However, business must go on. Fatimah Kalla and Achmad Kalla, his younger sister and brother, took over control of the Kalla Group and Bukaka.
In his 2014 wealth report, Jusuf Kalla had total wealth of Rp465.61 billion and around US$1 million.
Written and Compiled by TIS Intelligence Team