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Regional Expansion as a Mandate for the Sustainability of Papua’s Special Autonomy | by Reki Rumbiak

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Reki Rumbiak | Papuan Student

Member of Commission II of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Guspardi Gaus, said Law Number 2 of 2021 concerning Special Autonomy (Otsus) for Papua gave a mandate to the government and DPR to carry out expansion in the Papua region. Either Papua Province or West Papua Province.

Law Number 2 of 2021 is a lex specialis, so that it is possible for the Papua region to be divided.

“Even though at the same time the expansion in other provinces, the policy set by the Government together with the DPR RI is in a ‘moratorium’ condition,” said Guspardi to reporters. The member of the PAN faction revealed that there were many aspirations from various elements of the Papuan community who came to Commission II of the DPR RI asking for an expansion. This is because the two provinces, namely Papua and West Papua, are currently considered insufficient to provide equitable development in the Papua region.

“The establishment of new autonomous regions in Papua is certainly based on very realistic reasons and strategies in terms of geography, demographics, social conditions, customs and culture in Papua,” he said.

The member of the Legislative Council of the DPR stated that the purpose of the division in the Papua region in principle is to create an even distribution of development. Both in terms of health, education, infrastructure, and so on because of the wide area factor.

“If previously there were many Otsus funds that were not well targeted and the accountability was also unclear, it is even suspected that the funds were not used for development purposes in various aspects of the life of the Papuan people themselves,” he explained.

Guspardi said the expansion carried out in Papua was not only for security purposes. “But what is more important is the area and the difficulty of reaching one area to another,” said this former member of the Special Committee for the Special Autonomy Bill for Papua DPR RI.

The West Sumatra electoral district legislator explained that the research results recorded that more than Rp1,000 trillion of Papua Special Autonomy funds had been disbursed for almost 20 years. However, the amount of these funds turned out to be insignificant for improving the welfare of the Papuan people.

Therefore, he hopes that the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ma’ruf Amin, who is given the mandate of the law, will be able to carry out supervision so that the Special Autonomy Fund for Papua can be more targeted and effective.

“With the expansion, it is hoped that the welfare and equitable development of the Papuan people can catch up faster than other provinces,” said Guspardi.

Guspardi added that Commission II of the DPR RI and the Government are committed to immediately following up on the mandate of the Special Autonomy Law. Moreover, the expansion is an aspiration of the Papuan people themselves, both from elements of the indigenous peoples as well as from the Regency/City and Province.

“People certainly want to be more advanced and prosperous. The expansion of the region is a forum to realize the wishes of the Papuan people,” concluded Guspardi.

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