Speculation is rife in the Balinese press that Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika is being courted for a ministerial post in a reshuffled future cabinet of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
NusaBali is focusing on the close working relationship shared by Bali's governor and the Indonesian president, suggesting Pastika is being eyed for a job as the Minister of Agriculture of Home Affairs Minister in a much anticipated shake up of the presidential cabinet.
Adding grist to the rumor mill are statements from the PDIP faction of the Bali House of Representatives claiming Pastika has recently underwent a physical examination in Singapore in anticipation of the coming appointment. Others point to the positive working relationship demonstrated between the Yudhoyono and Pastika during a December week-long presidential visit to Bali as further proof of a Jakarta role waiting on the horizon for Bali's governor.
Meanwhile, Governor Pastika is steadfastly dismissing any such speculation regarding a cabinet role, saying no discussions have been held with Yudhoyono on the subject. The governor told the press: "You reporters are always trying to make news. Enough! Let's finish the assignment (I have) for the next five years. I have many responsibilities to repair and improve Bali." Pastika then enumerated the unfinished business of his current term, including the reduction of poverty and improvement of education on the island.
Pastika does not, however, deny a close and positive working relationship with President Yudhoyono stretching back decades to when Pastika was a mid-ranking police officer attending a course taught by Yudhoyono at the national police academy.
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