A coalition of civil societies united under the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia group has urged State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini MS Suwandi to ensure that the selection process for the new president director of state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina is carried out transparently.

PWYP said in a statement released on Saturday that Rini must make public both specific and general criteria for candidates for Pertamina president director and the board of directors.

The group also urged the government to involve the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) in the process of the selection of the top figure of the biggest state-owned enterprise in Indonesia.

Such measures, it argued, were crucial to prove the commitment of the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Jusuf Kalla government to upholding transparency in its administration.

PWYP Indonesia supervisory body chairman Fabby Tumiwa, who is also a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) international board, said that Pertamina, as a strategic state-owned enterprise that focuses on the supplying of domestic crude oil and fuel, not only had a huge budget and assets but was also frequently subject to political intervention.

He went on to say that the company was vulnerable to being used as a cashcow, especially by governing parties.

“A Pertamina president director and members of the board of directors who are professional, honest and have good track records are the main obstacle to anyone aiming to exploit the company to the detriment of Indonesia and its people,” said Fabby on Saturday.

PWYP Indonesia national coordinator Maryati Abdullah said that apart from integrity, Pertamina leaders should also have experience in the oil and gas industry.

In its roadmap for 2014-2019, Pertamina is aiming to become one of the biggest oil and gas companies in Southeast Asia, on a par with Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas.

In the first semester of 2014, Pertamina produced 520,630 barrels of oil per day, up by 11.9 percent from the same period last year. In 2014, the company is aiming for a total revenue of US$79 billion, up by around 6 percent from the previous year. The company’s net profit is expected to reach US$3.44 billion this year. (ebf)(+++)