Joko Widodo and Luhut Binsar Panjaitan - Photo by President Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – President Joko Widodo has announced his candidacy in a bid for reelection in 2019 general election along with Maruf Amin, chairman of Indonesia Ulema Council and a leading figure in the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia Nahdatul Ulama (NU).

A look into the businesses of Widodo and his key ally Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan can give us perspective on their rise into power.

Joko Widodo was born in June 21, 1961. He graduated from the Forestry faculty at Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta in 1985 where his work included studies and research on the use of plywood.

He began work at PT Kertas Kraft Aceh, a state owned firm in the province of Aceh, but he soon became uninterested working for the firm and returned home. According to Tempo, in Solo, Widodo worked at furniture company Roda Jati owned by his  uncle, Miyono.

The company exports furniture to Europe. Widodo handled the production and marketing division due to his ability to speak English.

One year after learning from his uncle, Widodo established his own furniture company. His father gave him Rp15 million as capital from bank’s loan. He then rented a small kiosk in Kadipiro district in Solo, Central Java and hired three workers.

Widodo named his company CV Rakabu, named after his first child, selling furniture made of oakwood. At the begining, business was not good. Things started to turn when Widodo adopted door-to-door sales strategy.

However, due to fake orders from Jakarta, the business almost went bankrupt, but he managed to turn his fortune again and achieve success. Period of expansion came when Widodo received assistance form foster parent program by state owned Perum Gas Negara (PGN).

The idea of the program was to encourage Indonesia larger firms to help on smaller, local or native run firms as suppliers, agents, distributors, retailers and subcontracts. Widodo got Rp500 million loan from PGN.

After receiving the loan, he aggressively expanded his business by recruiting more workers, broadening his marketing networks by participating in furniture exhibition abroad. He then changed the name of his company into PT Rakabu.

In 1991, he started to get orders for one containers of furniture from overseas. No more than five years, his company expanded into big business with thousands of workers and factories in a number of regions like Sukoharjo, Sragen, Boyolali, and Solo in Central Java. His furniture products were exported to Europe.

Because of his success, Widodo then was appointed as the chairman of Surakarta’s chapter of Association of Indonesia Furniture in July 2002. Three years later he became the mayor of Surakarta.

In March 2007, he asked his friend to seek investors for a partnership with PT Rakabu. Bambang Supriyambodo, then Director of PT Toba Bara Sejahtera Tbk (IDX: TOBA) introduced him to Panjaitan. Widodo then met with the retired general in his office in Wisma Bakrie, Jakarta.

Given that he had known Widodo’s track record as the mayor of Solo, Panjaitan then agreed with him offer for a cooperation. In March 2007, the two companies agreed to have a partnership under the umbrella of PT Rakabu Sejahtera with 51 percent of the company share owned by Widodo’s family and 49 percent of the shares is owned by Panjaitan. Currently the company exported dozens containers of furniture overseas.

In December 2014, Widodo reported his personal wealth for Rp30 billion and US$30.000. His furniture company worth Rp572 millions.

Panjaitan’s  Business 

Pandjaitan is Widodo’s strongest ally and current Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs. He started his business in 2004 in the energy and mining sector by establishing Toba Sejahtera Group. The group now engaged in coal mining, oil and gas, agriculture and power.

TOBA, a subsidiary of the group is a major coal producer in Indonesia. According to the company official website , the company has three working area or concession in East Kalimantan under three subsidiaries, PT Adimitra Baratama Nusantara, PT Indomining, and PT Trisensa Mineral Utama.

The concession areasare located adjacent to each other, and having coal processing and logistical infrastructure with close proximity to the barging jetty off the Mahakam river in East Kalimantan. This enables the company to optimize infrastructure sharing between mines to manage efficient operational cost structure.

The area of Toba Bara concession is around 7,087 hectares. Total reserve and total resource are estimated at 147 million tons and 236 million tons respectively as per the JORC reports of 2011 and 2012.

On July 6, 2012 Toba Bara debuted on the Indonesia Stock Exchange with ticker TOBA, raising Rp400.3 billion from releasing  210.681 million shares or 10.5 percent of the total paid-up capital in an initial public offering.

In addition there is a concession company held by the Toba Sejahtera Group, PT Kutai Energi. While in the oil and gas sector there PT Energi Mineral Langgeng and PT Fairfield Indonesia. In the electricity sector, there is PT Pusaka Jaya Palu Power and Kartenegara Energy Perkasa.

Then in the plantation sector, there are two companies, namely, PT Trisena Agro Lestari Sejahtra and PT Adimitra. While in the industrial sector there are PT Smartias Indo Gemilang, PT Rakabu Sejahtra and PT Kabil Citranusa.

PT Pusaka Jaya Palu Tower engaged in the electricity sector since 2007, managed to build a steam power plant. And this is a private steam power plant in Indonesia. For coal and mining, most of its products in-exports to China, Korea, Taiwan, India, and Japan.

In June 2015, Pandjaitan’s reported wealth was Rp660 billion and $7.38 million.

TIS Intelligence Team, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com

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