Jokowi dismisses energy minister over US citizenship

Indonesian President Joko Widodo dismissed Energy Minister Arcandra Tahar after it was revealed that he held US and Indonesian citizenship.

Arcandra, an ocean engineer who spent 20 years working in the United States, was appointed to the post of energy and mineral resources minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle last month.

“Following questions from the public about the citizenship of the energy and mineral resources minister, … the president has decided to honourably discharge him,” Minister of State Secretariat Pratikno said in a televised announcement late Monday.

Reports that Arcandra held US citizenship emerged over the weekend, with unnamed sources confirming that he became a US national in 2012 after a naturalization process.

The reports also revealed that he had used his US passport to enter Indonesia on several occasions in the past.

Indonesia does not recognize dual nationality, meaning locals who take an oath of allegiance to a foreign country automatically lose their Indonesian citizenship.

Arcandra has insisted that he is an Indonesian national, saying he had a valid Indonesian passport.

The controversy has been seized on by Jokowi’s critics to raise questions about his leadership.

A photo of Arcandra’s US passport, issued in 2012 and valid until 2022, has made rounds on the internet.

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