By: Roland Levy | Bumi Cendrawasih Student Committee
The Indonesian government will divide the Papua region, where from now on there are only 2 provinces on this very wide island, the plan is to add 3 more provinces. The Papuan people also happily welcomed the formation of the 3 New Autonomous Regions, because they were believed to be able to answer various problems in Papua.
People living in Papua, especially Papuan Indigenous People, really need regional expansion because it can improve public services and community welfare. To that end, the government continues to build a dialogue with the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP) and the West Papuan People’s Assembly (MRPB) regarding the formation of new autonomous regions in the two provinces. The Papuan People’s Assembly has also stated that they strongly support the division of Papua, because they are believed to be able to bring a lot of progress to Papua.
In front of President Joko Widodo, the MRP and MRPB emphasized that they strongly support the New Autonomous Region in Papua. The presence of the two cultural institutions at the Presidential Palace is a manifestation of President Joko Widodo’s commitment to continue to build discussions and dialogues in developing Indonesia, including the Provinces of West Papua and Papua Province.
The Papuan People’s Assembly has asked President Jokowi to provide certainty regarding the expansion of a new autonomous region in the West Papua region. The reason is that the division of the region is the aspiration of the people to create equal distribution of Special Autonomy funds. The new autonomous regions will also bring public services closer to the community because the main challenge in Papua is geographical conditions.
It should be noted that regional expansion is an aspiration that comes from the community component in Papua. They want the expansion to be carried out to support future needs and services, specifically for youth in Papua Province so that they can get a proper education.
The member of the legislature who currently sits in the Indonesian House of Representatives, from Papua, Yan Permenas Mandenas, appealed to the Papuan people to welcome the formation of new autonomous regions in Papua. Parmenas said that the Papuan people should look at the expansion of the Papua Province from an economic perspective. The benefits of new autonomous regions include equitable development, increased welfare, accelerated infrastructure development, shortens the span of government control between the center and regions, and facilitates community mobility and activities.
Papuan youth leader Charles Kossay stated that the formation of new autonomous regions would bring positive changes to Papua, the Earth of Cendrawasih. Kossay said the addition of provinces would address the span of control between the government and the people. Considering that Papua has a large area and complex problems.
On a different occasion, the Regent of Merauke, Romanus Mbaraka, pushed for the acceleration of the division of the South Papua region into a new autonomous region in Papua. Romanus emphasized that the expansion of the three new provinces must be accelerated to encourage accelerated development, improve services, equity, public welfare, and support governance. Given the various obstacles related to development in Papua, one of which concerns the wide coverage area.
The struggle of the Papuan people to realize the formation of this New Autonomous Region is inseparable from various obstacles and challenges. There are separatist groups and interest groups who want to come to power, who are behind the demonstration against the New Papua Autonomous Region. Separatist groups even threatened to kill people who did not take part in the demonstrations. A number of riots and chaos were deliberately created to hinder development and regional expansion in Papua.
In fact, in reality, the people really want Papua to move forward within the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Residents support the existence of new autonomous regions in Papua.
Communities in Papua need regional expansion, because with the expansion, infrastructure facilities will be better, as well as services in areas located in the interior of the island. So that people do not need to go all the way to the capital Jayapura just to look for needs. Therefore, it is hoped that the elites who play behind the rejection of the formation of new autonomous regions can think more clearly to see what is needed by the community today.
The formation of new autonomous regions is a government strategy that aims to address the problem of poverty, accelerate the development of people’s welfare, and development in the regions. The regional expansion policy is also to shorten the reach of public services, accelerate development, cut the price of goods that are too expensive, and resolve difficulties in accessing public services from the district to the provincial level.
In the context of the development of Papua and West Papua, this policy is implemented to ensure equitable distribution of welfare and development in Papua by taking into account geographical conditions. By doing so, it is hoped that the community will continue to support so that the expansion of this region can be accelerated in order to provide welfare to the community.