Awards note progress in
regional autonomy

The Home Ministry issued a decree on Monday ranking the nation’s 33 provinces, 398 regencies and 93 cities on their implementation of regional autonomy.

“The government has decided on the ranking and status of the three top-performing provinces, which are North Sulawesi, South Sulawesi and Central Java,” Djohermansyah Djohan, the Home Ministry’s director general for regional autonomy, said on Monday in Bogor.

Djohermansyah was speaking during an event marking the 15th anniversary of regional autonomy in Indonesia. Twenty regencies and cities were also designated as best performers.

Delivering the event’s keynote speech, Vice President Boediono said he was optimistic that progress would continue on regional autonomy despite lingering problems.

“I found innovations springing up in regions previously limited by [central government] regulations,” Boediono said.

He said the practice of naming the nation’s best regions should be maintained and that future winners should be awarded incentives.

The idea of regional autonomy has been a part of the political landscape since the Law on Regional Governance was passed in 1974.

However, in practice regions continued to lean heavily upon the central government during the authoritarian rule of Soeharto’s New Order government.

Soeharto issued a presidential decree authorizing a pilot project for regional autonomy on April 25, 1995, announcing in 1996 that April 25 would hence be celebrated as National Regional Autonomy Day.

The toppling of Soeharto in 1998 led to wider and more concrete decentralization. However, the mushrooming number of new regions, some of which were deemed ineffective in governing or in developing their potential, led to new problems, such as overlapping regulations, border disputes and budgeting issues.

Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi said that several autonomous regions fell short in their preparations for autonomy, rendering their progress ineffective.

The 10 regencies cited by the Home Ministry for good governance included Pacitan — the birthplace of President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono — and Jombang in East Java; Boalemo in Gorontalo; and Buleleng, Bali.

Surakarta and Semarang in Central Java; Yogyakarta; and Bogor in West Java were acknowledged on the list of best-performing cities.

Home Ministry spokesman Reydonnyzar Moenek said that the provinces and regencies on the list excelled in compiling their 173-indicator reports on governance.

The government also announced rankings for the autonomous regions launched between 1999 and 2009, naming North Maluku, Gorontalo and Bangka Belitung as the best provinces.

Dharmas Raya, West Sumatra; Central Bangka, Bangka Belitung; and Samosir, North Sumatra, were ranked as the top regencies while Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan; Cimahi, West Java; and Singkawang, West Kalimantan, led the list of newly formed cities.

Dharmas Raya was the highest- ranked new regency, scoring 59.43 of a possible 100 points, while Paniai regency in Papua scored 1.18 in providing for residents’ welfare, good governance and competitiveness.

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