Law (UU) No. 21 of 2001 concerning Special Autonomy (Otsus) for the Papua Province was enacted to resolve conflicts in Papua. It is a strategy to achieve a win-win situation for the Papuan people who wish to be independent and the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) government, which firmly maintains the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia.
The Otsus Program is a policy to improve economic empowerment, infrastructure, and human resources, to align the community development in Papua and West Papua with other regions in Indonesia. The implementation of Otsus has contributed to accelerating growth in Papua, such as the availability of government buildings and public facilities such as hospitals, ports, schools, and other supporting infrastructure.
Bill No. 21 the Year 2001 Ratified
The government and the DPR RI have revised several articles in the Papua special autonomy bill, ratified on July 15, 2021. Several fundamental aspects need to be addressed so that in the future, Otsus Papua will provide more optimal results to improve the welfare of the Indigenous Papuans.
Through the revision of the law, the Indonesian parliament amends 20 articles consisting of 3 articles proposed by the government through the Presidential Letter and 17 articles outside the government’s proposal. Among these are the amount of Otsus funds, the division of provinces based on indigenous territories, and a coordinated monitoring system for the use of Otsus funds.
The Special Autonomy Fund for Papua’s Development Budget
It is mentioned in Article 34 of Law (UU) No. 21 of 2001 that the special autonomy fund is valid for 20 years. So, if no changes are made, the special autonomy fund will end in 2021, even though the special autonomy fund is still very much needed to accelerate development in Papua.
It is well known that special autonomy funds support more than 60% of Papua’s development budget. To meet this need, the government has begun to process changes to the Special Autonomy Law for the Province of Papua Number 21 of 2001.
The discussion of changes to this bill is a joint effort as a commitment of the Government, DPR RI, and DPD RI to improve the Papuan people’s welfare as a part of NKRI.
One of this bill’s most crucial amended articles is the number of special autonomy funds (dana Otsus) disbursed to Papua and West Papua. As a result, the special autonomy fund was increased 0.25% with improvements in governance terms (from 2% to 2.25%).
In the economic sector, 70% of the Oil and Gas Revenue Sharing Fund (DBH) for West Papua has been agreed to be extended from 2026 to 2041. The fund is well expected to be used to maximise the welfare of Papua.
Evidence of the Role of Special Autonomy in the Development of Papua and West Papua
Otsus Papua has been running for 20 years, and much progress has been achieved. Here are some of them:
- In 2019, the national open unemployment rate was 5.01%, and Papua was the tenth province with the lowest unemployment rate.
- In education, the tendency for education is increasing; school-age children 7-12 years old are pretty large who receive an education.
- Otsus finance many students.
- Many Papuan police and soldiers were recruited as officers, Otsus financed the cost of recruitment and training.
- A total of 1,051 participants of the Special Autonomy scholarship program have graduated from various educational institutions at home and abroad.
In addition, there are currently 1,236 active students studying at home and abroad, which the Papuan government is still financing with special autonomy funds.
In conclusion, Otsus Papua is a form of state responsibility in the welfare of the Papuan people. Otsus allows the people of West Papua, especially indigenous Papuans and people in remote areas, to receive assistance.