Papuans Will Survive without Freeport, says Papua Governor
|Papuans Will Survive without Freeport, says Papua Governor
Jayapura, Jubi/BenarNews – During his visit the United States this week to attract more investment, President Joko Widodo, his ministers and officials in the field of economy were scheduled to officially meet with executives of US companies.
However, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno L.P. Marsudi denied the president would meet representatives from Freeport, which has an interest in obtaining a contract extension after 2021.
“Rumors in media that the president had a schedule to have breakfast with Freeport are not true,” said Retno was quoted in Solopos.
The US Company that operates the world’s largest gold mine and third largest copper mine in Papua, is enforcing the Indonesian Government to extend their Contract of Work while refer to the Indonesian regulation the extension could be approve two years prior the last contract was terminated. However, before his departure to the US, Jokowi gave a signal to Freeport could obtain the extension after the end of contract, it means in 2019.
No Intention to Develop Papua
In between the crowded debates and controversy about the contract extension for PT. Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in Mimika, the voices from Papua are rarely heard.
But for Papuans, this issue of contract extension is not only a matter of time. The Papua Governor Lukas Enembe was doubt the intention of PTFI to develop Papua.
“We submitted 17 points of Government’s Proposal consist of 11 points of Papua Government and 6 points of the Central Government in order to renegotiate with Freeport, including the Freeport’s involvement to build infrastructure in Papua, the increment of royalty and tax payment to the Provincial Government, share divestment, environmental issue and prioritizing Papuans to be employees. That’s our priorities,” Enembe told BeritaBenar on 17 October 2015.
He accused Freeport to have no intention to Papua’s development. He took Timika City as an example, that until now the city is lacking of feasible infrastructures. “Freeport has been operating since 1967, but what about Timika and how’s Papuan condition right now? Infrastructures in Timika are still underdeveloped. The number of indigenous Papuan workers in Freeport is not equal with the number of non-Papuan workers. If it continues like this, Freeport is better leaving. Without it, Papuans will still survive,” said the Governor Enembe.
The local authority estimates there are only 30 percent of the company’s employees are Papuans, while the rest are recruited from outside of Papua.
Further Enembe refers to the attitude of PTFI that according to him hindering the water surface tax payment. Each year, Freeport should pay 360 billion rupiahs for the water surface tax, but the fact is up to now PTFI only paid approximately 1.5 billion for each year.
“Freeport took many advantages of the government’s rotation every five years, and violated the commitment made between the government and Freeport. And the government just ignored this fact. But it is clear, Freeport has to pay 360 billion rupiahs each year,” he said.
The Governor Enembe said the Provincial Government also support the policy taken by the Mimika Regional Government charging PTFI to pay a penalty amounted USD 3.6 billion or Rp 481 trillion to the indigenous tribes living in the surrounded mining area.
“It’s the people’s demand because Freeport has exploited the mountain and its materials since being operated, but never given the in kind benefits to the local community,” said Enembe.
It’s a Political Treaty, Not Business Agreement
Musa Sombuk, Lecturer at Papua State University and doctoral candidate at Australia National Community thought the tax issue, profit sharing, and other issues that endured for years as consequences of PTFI’s contract of work is a “political agreement” rather an economic agreement between the company and the Indonesian Government.
“At first time doing operation, it was clear that Indonesia need a cash. Now, the Freeport’s contract is not transparent, unequal and the profit sharing is not fair. Freeport also did any means in order to gain land ownership,” said Sombuk.
When confirmed by BeritaBenar, PTFI spokesperson Riza Pratama declined to give comments on the renegotiation process with the Central Government, but he denied PTFI did the cunning ways in obtaining the land. He said the customary community at the PTFI mining area has gave their permission and tenure rights since PTFI started their operation for the first time. According to Reza, the company also has paid the penalty and is continuing the development program for indigenous communities at the surrounded the mining area.
Sombuk, who admitted his involvement in the audit of PTFI in 1997, said the company is not only taking the copper and gold, but also the tailing –sand waste containing the iron ore, that could reach 30 billion tons. Several grams of tailing, according to him, could result 1 gram of 23 carat gold. “Now there’s 30 billion tons of tailing and it must be gold-contained. Where will the gold from tailing go?” said Sombuk.
“Just imagine, Freeport should use the dump truck to dispose the tailing, but they just drain it to the Ajikwa River that slightly bearing the risk and impact to the people’s health and environment,” said Sombuk.
According to Sombuk, PTFI could survive until now because it gained support and facilities from the government, both regional and provincial. The vague regulation and the attitude of both government and company for not being transparent making the law enforcement is risk with the corrupt practice.
“We never know whether the local permits have any cost consequences. If it has, such as the charge on waste draining in Ajikwa River, we don’t know to whom it should pay and how much?” asked Sombuk. (Victor Mambor/rom)
2) Editorial: Ubud goes global, again
The Jakarta Post | Editorial | Thu, October 29 2015, 8:44 AM –
The renowned artist village of Ubud is in the global spotlight again this week. Five years ago we had Julia Roberts to thank for making the hill resort in Bali famous through Eat, Pray, Love, the hit movie that drew tourists to the island in search of love.
This time we have the Indonesian censors to thank, after they put pressure on the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival to cancel several programs related to the tragedy that happened in Indonesia in 1965.
The festival will go ahead from Thursday to Sunday, and still offer more than 200 events, allowing people to savor the best in Indonesian and international literature, and the opportunity for them to rub shoulders with their favorite authors as they move around Ubud from one event to another.
The Indonesian censors are back after a 17-year hiatus as the government appeared to become overly sensitive to any public discussion about the massacre of over half a million people during a backlash against communists in the country 50 years ago.
The festival organizers said they had to cancel all programs related to the tragedy or face the likelihood that the entire festival, already in its 11th year, would be shut down.
The decision caused national and international outrage, just as people had assumed that Indonesia was claiming its place as the third-largest democracy in the world.
The censors have given the festival additional international publicity. Not that Ubud really needs it. The festival is already a major item on the annual global literature agenda.
While we condemn the censors, we should also thank them, not only for reminding the world about the festival but most importantly for reminding us that there are evil forces out there who will never be content with people enjoying their freedom of expression. We should never take our freedom for granted.
If anyone should condemn the censors in the harshest terms, it should be President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, whose campaign promises included protection of freedom of expression. The widespread outrage at the censors broke out on the eve of his first US trip as president.
Jokowi, already under a lot of pressure for his failure to contain the horrendous air pollution from raging forest and peatland fires that is now regarded as the biggest environmental disaster of the 21st century, cut short his visit to the US after receiving reports of the situation deteriorating further.
He did not need another issue that would further embarrass him. News about Ubud dominated the headlines as he left Indonesia for Washington, DC, on the weekend.
The censors may have dented the festival a little, but the 1965 tragedy, and the return of censorship practices in Indonesia, will likely be one of the major issues discussed in Ubud.
They will not feature in the official program, but you cannot stop writers from writing, and you certainly cannot stop people from talking.
3) Trial of Nekemen postponed because of cofusion about police witnesses
Statement by the Executive-Director of the LP3BH
27 October 2015
The trial of Alexander Nekenem and his colleagues continued today at the district court in Manokwari when the testimony of several
witnesses was due to be heard. Twelve witnesses, all students at the Universitas Papua, were to appear as well as two police officers from
the police command of
Manikwari, Zakarias Siriyey, S. So (chief of intelligence at the Manokwari Police Command and Heru Sundawan (Kaur Sabhara ??? ) who
were due to testify against the suspects.
The members of the defence team arrived at the court at 9am. We waited in front of the court for some time but the team of
prosecutors, Irna Indira S, SH from the Attorney General’s office
failed to turn up; they didn’t bring the detainees to court. We waited there until 11.45 when a member of the defence team,
Simon Banundi, received an SMS from the attorney general’s office saying that the session would take place much later than planned
because the two witnesses from the police mentioned above were still being briefed or given guidance from the West Papua Police Office.
For us, the question was what kind of guidance would the police office be giving the two police witnesses? This is because the
material of the case and the interrogations in relation to the case should according to the regulations of the court come from the people
at the attorney general’s office and not from the police. It was then that It became clear to us that the case was being politicised by
other people who were not officially involved in the case, such as the judges, the attorneys as stipulated in Law 8/1981 on Criminal
The briefing given by the West Papua police to the aforementioned officers went on for quite a long time. At 13.45 local time, the
attorney general’s office got back in touch with the defendant to tell him that the hearings would be postponed because it was already
late in the afternoon.
Then what happened soon after 14.30, was that about forty members of Brimob, West Papua Police Force arrived on six motorbikes, as well
as a barakuda vehicle, a bus and a black vehicle escorting Alexander Nekemen and three of his colleagues to the Manokwari court room.
The session was then opened by the chairman of the panel of judges who asked the prosecutors to produce the witnesses who would
have the opportunity to present the witnesses. But then the prosecutor said that the witnesses would not be able to appear in court which
meant that the proceedings would have to be postponed for another week, at which time the witnesses would be summoned to appear.in
The chairman of the panel of judges then said that the case would be postponed for a week and would resume on 2 November, when the
witnesses against the defendant would be brought before the court .
Yan Christian Warinussy, Executive-Director of the LP3BH, Institute of
Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid.
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo, Recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, 1995