In a possible follow up to his January promise to shake up the Nation's much lamented immigration department, [See: Immigration Department to be Revamped], Indonesia's Justice and Human Rights Minister Hamid Awaluddin suddenly "decommissioned" Indonesia's Director General of Immigration, Imam Santoso, on Thursday, May 18, 2006.
Named to act as caretaker Director General until a permanent replacement can be found was Inspector General Marvel Hasudungan Simanguansong.
Quoted in the Indonesian language Media On-Line and Bali Post, Marvel told reporters that he had no information on why Santoso was suddenly replaced, claiming he had only received a letter from the Minister informing him of his new appointment. Prior to his latest promotion Marvel served as Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights after working for a number of years as the head of the Justice and Human Right's Ministry Office for East Java.
Iman Santoso's decommissioning comes on the heals of his somewhat mysterious failure to attend the installation of the new Secretary for the Directorate General of Immigration on May 5th and recent comments by the Minister that changes in key appointment in the immigration department were imminent.
Questioning the sudden departure of Santoso from him post, the Chairman of Commission III of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), Trimedya Panjaitan announced his intention to question the legal basis of the dismissal during commission hearings scheduled for May 29, 2006. The legislator explained that if Santoso's decommissioning was in connection with the ineffective operations of the Nation's immigration department this was understandable, but at the same time expressed the hope that the dismissal did not reflect a personal conflict between the Minister and the former Director General.
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