The former Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Dr Rizal Ramli is known for provoking critics and his deep understanding of the economy. Not new to the political world, Dr Rizal Ramli started out his career when he was appointed as Chairman of the National Logistics Board (Bulog) in 1999 with a 15-month tenure before taking the role as the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs in 2000 in President Abdurrahman Wahid’s administration. Besides his straight-to-the-point attitude and tough approach to critics, Dr Rizal Ramli has several more interesting facts to his name, as we highlight below.
Education and White Book
Born on December 10, 1954, the Padang-born politician and economist went to the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and earned his undergraduate degree in physics. During his time as undergraduate student at ITB, young Rizal also became the president of ITB Students Council in 1977. An activist and vocal individual since his early days, Rizal and three friends authored the “White Book” while at ITB, which highlighted the corruption, collusion, and nepotism of Soeharto’s regime. Eventually banned, the book was then translated into eight languages by the late Scholar Benedict Anderson of Cornell University. Rizal then went to the US and earned his PhD in Economics from Boston University in 1990.
United Nations Panel
Known as a reputable economist, Dr Rizal has also served on the economic advisory panels of the UN, which included Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen of Harvard University. The panel, called “Ministerial Round Table on Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Major Economic Crises”, took place on April 30, 2013. Furthermore, Dr Rizal’s name was also put forward as the Secretary General of the Economic & Social Commission of Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), but he turned it down in order to continue to serve Indonesia.