The Indonesian Minister of Home Affairs Tito Karnavian stated that Papua Province would expand into six provinces. Those included South West Papua, West Papua, Central Papua, Pegunungan Tengah, South Papua, and Papua Tabi saireri.
He stated that the expansion of the Papua Region was crucial. Its vast geographical condition affected the expensive development acceleration, difficult accessibility, and long bureaucracy.
The Minister highlighted the positive sides amid the pros and cons of regional expansion. He wanted to copy the accelerated development in West Papua to Papua. By copying the development, he wished that the underdeveloped regions in Papua could be as developed as their neighboring region.
The idea of expanding the regions was initiated in the Dutch occupation period. The reasons were based on regions adjacency, government effectiveness, and cultural/ethnicity relation among Papua people.
After the occupation, the Indonesian government put the idea into their development agenda. The agenda was stipulated in Law no. 4 of 1999 and Presidential Instruction no. 1 of 2003. Although the government was eager to execute the program, the Papua people have refused the idea of expanding their region since the beginning.
Pros and Cons of Regional Expansion in Papua
Minister of Home Affairs has planned the regencies and cities in Papua to be parts of those six provinces. Raja Ampat, Sorong Sorong Selatan, Maybrat, Tambrauw, and Sorong City would belong to South West Papua. Manokwari, Pegunungan Arfak, West Manokwari, Teluk Bintuni, Teluk Wondama, Fak Fak, and Kaimana would belong to West Papua.
Six regencies, Paniayi, Degiyai, Dogiyai, Intan Jaya, Mimika, and Nabira, would belong to Central Papua. Jayawijaya, Yahukimo, Yalimo, Tolikara, Lanny Jaya, Central Membramo, Nduga, Puncak Jaya, and Puncak would belong to Central Papua. Meanwhile, South Papua would consist of Merauke, Asmat, Mappi, Bovendigoel, and Pegunungan Bintang. Papua Tabi Saireri Province would include Jayapura City, Jayapura, Keerom, Sarmi, Membramo Raya, Waropen, Kepulauan Yapen, Biak Numfor, and Supiori.
Pros: Modeling West Papua Rapid Development
Regardless of the idea of the Dutch, the Indonesian government states the following aspects underlying the expansion idea.
The vast area of Papua makes a Governor unable to control its administrative area. In 2002, it caused only 20% of the total Special Autonomy Funds distributed to 14 regencies (including two cities).
The expansion will give opportunities for indigenous People of Papua to become governors. Besides, the smaller areas mean an easier way for political parties to introduce their programs to the people.
- Legal Aspect
Decree of DPRD Irian Jaya Province no. 11 of 1999 could not cancel Law no. 45 of 1999.
- Economic Aspect
Three regions have similar natural resources which come from mining. The regions would open huge opportunities to attract both domestic and foreign investors.
- Social and Cultural Aspect
Cultural construction and development will be more effective with smaller areas. The local government that can do so can reach those people. Besides, the local government can provide and improve social services to the benefit of all people.
Cons: Uncertainty for Papua Province
The contradictory arguments come from a political observer. He argues that:
- The government had not explained the foundation of decision-making on regional expansion and its correlation with Law no. 21 of 2001 on Special Autonomy. Will the Special Autonomy apply to those new provinces or Papua Province only?
- What will happen to Papua Province after the expansion? The expansion makes the status of Papua Province not clear as the name “Papua Province” is not mentioned in the regulation.
- The execution of the Presidential Instruction creates a new precedent, the birth of new provinces that erase Papua Province.
Similar arguments are stated by the DPRD of Papua. They also criticize the customary community who supports the idea, thinking that it won’t benefit them.
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