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The rejection of the continuation of Special Autonomy by fifty-seven Papuan priests is inappropriate, by Jerry Indrawan

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Jerry Indrawan | Lecturer in Political Science, UPN Veteran University

While continuing the Special Autonomy (Otsus) for Papua, I would like to comment on the statement of rejection of Otsus by 57 Papuan Catholic priests. Their coordinator, Pastor Alberto John Bunai said that 57 Pastors in Papua rejected Otsus because it did not bring prosperity to Papua. Otsus is considered a failure during the last 20 years to advance Papua. Therefore, they issued a statement rejecting Otsus.

In my point of view, Otsus in Papua needs to be continued. Failure is not seen from the statement of the attitude of the religious leaders alone, even though they are influential figures on the Earth of Cendrawasih. A study issued by Cendrawasih University, for example, says that Otsus has not failed. Weaknesses do exist in terms of supervision and implementation, but which policies have no problems at all.

I agree if there is a need for an evaluation of Otsus. The government also responded by issuing a revision related to the Special Autonomy Law itself, namely No. 21 of 2001. In the extension of the law, funding issues and proposals for regional expansion in Papua will be evaluated. This is a positive sign that the government is pro to the problems in Papua. If there is a job that is not correct, of course, it is repaired, not immediately rejected.

Don’t forget that so far, apart from Otsus, the government has been very concerned about development in Papua. One example is infrastructure development policy. One of the best-known examples of the community is the construction of the Trans Papua Road. The road connects the provinces of West Papua with Papua, from the city of Sorong in West Papua Province to Merauke in Papua Province. According to the initial plan, this development will be completed in 2019 with a total length of 4,330 km. Even though it has not been completed, the construction process is still being carried out now. The funds issued did not come from Otsus.

Otsus does four things, development of education, health, people’s economy, and infrastructure.

Road construction in Papua is not only Trans Papua but Jokowi has also constructed the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border road. The construction of this border road stretches from Merauke to Jayapura where one of the border roads being worked on is Jalan Oksibil-Towe Hitam-Ubrup-Jayapura along 5.52 km. The construction work starts from KM 15.5 to KM 21.2 in Bintang Mountains District. Jokowi also built the Hamadi-Holtekam Long Bridge.

Once again, this is proof that the government has not forgotten Papua. Quoting from the opinion of a Papuan figure, who is currently serving as the Secretary-General of the Papua Council, Thaha Al Hamid, Papua grew up from various tribes and cultural conflicts should not occur. For this reason, it is necessary to build the capacity of human resources so that with Otsus on board the Republic of Indonesia, all Papuans feel safe. Otsus does four things, development of education, health, people’s economy, and infrastructure. The problems that occur at the management and implementation levels are not the problem of Otsus. Therefore, it is not Otsus that we need to reject, but how to improve its management and implementation.

Thaha added, several new districts resulting from the division during the Otsus period yesterday have not been able to produce their PAD, so how do they drive development. Therefore, when we still need special autonomy fund assistance, we open ourselves up. Development is the right of the people, therefore governments everywhere are obliged to develop their people. For this reason, in Papua, the government uses a special autonomy approach. This is a blessing and a gift for us to manage well so that the people in the villages can quickly achieve prosperity.

So, the point is that if Otsus is eliminated, you can imagine what impact this will have on Papua. In fact, according to Thaha, if we reject Otsus, the MPRP and DPRP will disband. Automatically there is no cultural representation because Papua is no longer a special area. That is why I disagree with the opinion of Pastor Bunai and his friends. Instead, religious leaders should think about how to calm their followers with cool, constructive sentences. Not with a negative narrative that ends up being out of place. We build Papua with synergy, not anarchy.

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