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wp Government is serious about its New Deal for Papua, says SBY

December 6, 2012

Bintang Papua, 6 December 2012

Jakarta: A member of the special presidential team for development in the regions and regional autonomy has said that in the coming two years, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will reinforce the government’s position by consolidating special autonomy for Papua. Velix V Wanggai said that the government regards the special autonomy law for Papua as a win-win situation that was agreed between the Papuan people and the government during the reformasi era.

Anywhere in the world, such a law would be regarded as a middle way for regions where unrest is widespread.

Velix said that the president believes that the welfare approach is the best way to get to the root of the problem, which is why, in 2007, he launched his New Deal for Papua, which incorporates the principle of affirmative policies as the way of strengthening the rights of the indigenous Papuan people which was endorsed in Inpres 5/2007 for Accelerating Development in Papua and West Papua.

This focuses particularly on isolated regions, especially kampungs in the Central Highlands. During 2013 it is hoped that the cost of living in the interior will be brought down by building more roads to ensure greater access. This will be achieved by a special allocation (DAU) for the highland regions which will be devoted to education, health and people’s economy in the kampungs. During 2013, the outlay for the province of Papua will be Rp. 4.3 trillion and Rp. 1.8 trillion for the province of West Papua. and the government also intends to allocate a further Rp 1 trillon for infrastructure. This, the president hopes, will cater for the needs of the indigenous people. The success so far achieved is evident, according to the president from the fact that the Index for Human Development in Papua has risen while unemployment has fallen. and the number of people living in poverty has fallen from 31.11 percent to 28.20 percent in the province of West Papua. [The source for these figures is not mentioned.]

Although the two provinces still have the highest level of poverty in Indonesia, the government nevertheless believes that the situation has improved in the past five years.

The New Deal for Papua will also pursue other affirmative policies such as launching a programme for Papuan boys and girls to have access to tertiary institutions outside Papua, by establishing of a quota for Papuan teenagers to study outside Papua. It is also the president’s intention to have more Papuans enlist in the army and the police and study at their respective academies. The president has even made changes in some regulations so as to make it possible for Papuan entrepreneurs to receive grants from the government budget for their businesses.

Besides all this, the president is open to the idea of dialogue to employ affirmative principles as may be required by indigenous Papuans.

The president has not closed his eyes to the many shortcomings in developmental work and is waiting for inputs on this matter from Papuan people in economic, social-political affairs and cultural matters.

In this connection, the president has, since June 2012, stated his willingness to provide space for dialogue within the framework of NKRI, the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. But there can be no space for dialogue aimed as separating Papua from Indonesia, because it is his constitutional duty to safeguard the country’s national integrity.

This is in line with the commitment of President Abdurahman Wahid when he held dialogue with Papuan leaders on 31 December 1999. when the idea of creating a state within a state was not tolerated. It is the government’s intention to build on the idea of constructive communication during the coming two years (2013-2014) to achieve more fundamental changes by means of intense constructive communications.

For all these reasons, the president has stated that the commitment to a Papuan Land of Peace must be adhered to by all sides, the government in Jakarta as well as the various strategic groups in the Land of Papua.

[Abridged translation by TAPOL]

COMMENT: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono appears to be concerned about his legacy, following the end of his presidency in two years time. The above translation was done with careful attention to the wording. What this piece shows the depth of SBY ‘s ignorance about the real situation in West Papua.

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